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AdventHealth CEO joins health leaders in sounding alarm about omicron surge

Brandon Nudd Brandon Nudd

The president of AdventHealth Hendersonville is the latest health care leader to warn that the highly contagious omicron variant is taxing local health care providers beyond their capacity.

In a video message Advent released Thursday, president and CEO Brandon Nudd described what physicians, nurses and the support had been doing to meet the demand and to appeal to people — as Pardee’s CEO and Henderson County’s director of public health have this week as well — to do everything they can to stop the spread of the virus.
Noting that AdventHealth and patients who visit had gone through trials of testing, vaccination clinics and treatment for 22 months, Nudd described a situation today as more challenging than ever.

“We are at a critical moment,” he said. “The omicron variant is now responsible for 99 percent of new Covid-19 cases in our region.” At AdventHealth, the positivity rate for Covid tests is 43 percent. (For context, health officials in the past had expressed concern when positive test rates reached the mid-teens.)
“We are full,” Nudd said. “Covid-19 positive patients make up more than 40 percent of the patients in our hospital. We are constantly beyond capacity in our ICU, transitioning other rooms to ICU-level care to meet the needs of these growing numbers of Covid-19 patients.
“To put this in perspective, this week we have had 11 people in our six-bed intensive care unit, most of whom are on ventilators,” he said. “We are tired. Our clinical teams are working additional shifts to cover staff shortages because their teammates are coming down with Covid-19 from community exposures. We’re sending critical staff alerts to our team to cover the shortages, all to make sure we have the care you need when you need it.
“That snapshot of the toll it’s taking on the care team is concerning, to say the least.” Nudd thanked public health officials, EMS workers and other hospitals, then called on the public “to do everything you can to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Together, we can do this.”
Jay Kirby, Pardee’s president and CEO, and Steve Smith, the county’s public health director, each took a similar step, making an unusual public appeal for people to do what they can to avoid contracting and spreading the highly contagious omicron variant so that hospitals won’t continue to be taxed beyond capacity.