Health Systems and Hospitals Urge North Carolinians to Unite to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

The following statement is made on behalf of the Chief Medical Officers and Chief Clinical Officers of North Carolina Healthcare Systems and Hospitals identified below.

What would you do to save someone’s life? For most people, it’s an easy answer: at a minimum, you would do anything you could without significantly endangering your own life or the lives of those you hold most dear.

The COVID-19 pandemic is killing thousands of people each day and sickening millions more around the world. It’s a global problem with a huge, local impact. Yet many people are choosing not to take the threat seriously and, in doing so, are endangering not only their own lives but also the lives of our neighbors and families.

As the physician leaders of hospitals and health systems throughout the state of North Carolina, we have seen firsthand our friends and neighbors all too often become our COVID patients. We see the number of cases rising every day. We see the potential for large spikes in cases which will overwhelm some hospitals. We see people dying and wonder how many of them could have lived if more people made different choices about closely following public health guidance.

This pandemic knows no borders. It is impacting our cities and towns and every rural corner of the state. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we urge every resident of and visitor to North Carolina to think about these simple ways we can all protect each other:

  • Keep Thanksgiving festivities small; limit the number of guests to make sure everyone can properly keep their distance.
  • Hold events outside, keep tables spread out and guests seated with other members of their immediate household.
  • Consider getting a COVID-19 test ahead of time, and remember – testing is not foolproof; it is a snapshot in time and you could still be contagious at a later point.
  • Avoid large Black Friday crowds in retail stores.
  • And always wear a mask over your mouth and nose, except while eating.

We recognize masks are uncomfortable and it’s both frustrating and disappointing not to celebrate this year’s holidays with traditional large gatherings. While we are encouraged that safe and effective vaccines may be coming soon, we know that we are months away from making vaccination widely available. With this in mind, we are asking for your help now. We must decrease the spread of this virus and in doing so save lives – lives of real North Carolinians who will get to celebrate many more holidays to come.

This statement has been submitted by:

Niti S. Armistead, MD, FACP

Chief Medical Officer

Vidant Health

Affiliate Professor, Internal Medicine

Brody School of Medicine at Eastern Carolina University


Andrew Chesson, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Catawba Valley Health System


Todd Davis, MD, MMM


CaroMont Health


Chris DeRienzo, MD, MPP

SVP and Chief Medical Officer

WakeMed Health & Hospitals


Eric Eskioglu, MD

EVP and Chief Medical Officer

Novant Health


Mickey W. Foster, MHA

Chief Executive Officer

FirstHealth of the Carolinas


Anthony J. Frank, MD MBA CPE

Chief Medical Officer

Carolinas Healthcare System – Blue Ridge


William Hathaway, MD,

Chief Medical Officer

Mission Health

HCA Healthcare NC Division


Teresa Herbert, MD, MPH, FAAP

Chief Medical Officer

AdventHealth Hendersonville


Russell M. Howerton, MD

SVP and Chief Medical Officer

Wake Forest Baptist Health


Shawn Howerton, MD

Chief Executive & Chief Medical Officer

Sampson Regional Medical Center


James Hunter, M.D.

SVP and Chief Medical Officer

Atrium Health


Danielle Mahaffey, MD, MMM

Chief Physician Executive

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System


Ronald May, MD, FAAP, CPE

Chief Medical Officer

CarolinaEast Health System


Joseph Mazzola, DO, CPE, MBA

Vice President of Medical Affairs

Iredell Health System


Rodney McCaskill, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Johnston Health


West Paul, MD

Chief Clinical Officer

New Hanover Regional Medical Center


Joseph Roberts, MD

Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Southeastern Health


Joseph G. Rogers, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Duke University Health System


Jonathan Snyder, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital


Dr. Bruce Swords, PhD

Chief Physician Executive

Cone Health

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