An Open Letter to North Carolinians on Working Together to Defeat COVID-19

January 12, 2022 

To the patients, families and communities we are proud to serve:  

It is our mission to care for you and support you – a commitment that will never waver. That’s why we want to be up front with you: North Carolina is at a critical juncture in the battle against COVID-19 and we need your immediate help to slow community spread of the virus. 

The omicron variant is highly infectious. While it might cause only mild illnesses for some people, including some who have been vaccinated, our hospitals are filling up fast with COVID patientsa vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. This situation is putting daily strain on our ability to care for those who have other urgent medical needs that are not COVID-related. It is heartbreaking, which is why we are reaching out to you. 

With COVID-19 spreading like wildfire, your personal decisions about how to coexist with the virus directly affect the health and well-being of your family and community. Our best chance of returning to living healthy, normal lives is to make sure our families, friends and work colleagues are choosing to be vaccinated and getting their recommended booster shots.  

Here is some important information to know:  

  • Vaccine and booster doses are readily available. They help the human immune system to be ready to recognize and fight back against COVID-19 infection. Vaccinated people are less likely to require hospitalization or die from COVID-19. 
  • You can get the virus again even if you had it before. Antibodies from an actual infection do not last as long as the antibodies produced in response to the vaccine, which is why vaccination is recommended even for people who have had COVID.
  • Everyone ages 5 and older can get vaccinated. Everyone ages 12 years and older can also get a booster shot. 
  • It’s okay to have questions about vaccines. If you do, talk to a health care professional you trust.

Also please continue to practice the 3 W’s, protecting each other by wearing a mask properly covering your nose and mouth, waiting six feet apart (social distancing), and washing or disinfecting hands frequently 

We will eventually get past this. But first, let’s work together to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 in our local communities and make 2022 a happy and healthy new year. 



Teresa Herbert, MD, MPH, FAAP, Chief Medical Officer 

AdventHealth Hendersonville 


Chuck Mantooth, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System 


Eugene A. Woods, MBA, MHA, FACHE President and Chief Executive Officer

James Hunter, MD, Enterprise Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Atrium Health


Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, Chief Executive Officer 

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and Dean, Wake Forest School of Medicine 


Kevin P. High, MD, President 

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist 


Laura Easton, RN, MBA, President & Chief Executive Officer 

David Lowry, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer 

Caldwell UNC Healthcare 


Michael Nagowski, Chief Executive Officer 

Sam Fleishman, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Cape Fear Valley Health System 


Roxie Cannon Wells, MD, President, Hoke Healthcare/Hospital

Cape Fear Valley Health


Chris Peek, President & Chief Executive Officer 

CaroMont Health 


Harvey Case, President 

Clyde Brooks, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Carteret Health Care 


Edward Beard, Jr. DNP, RN, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer  

Dr. Andrew Chesson, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Catawba Valley Health System 


Chris Fensterle, Chief Executive Officer 

Central Carolina Hospital, a Duke LifePoint Hospital 


Mary Jo Cagle, MD, Chief Executive Officer 

Cone Health 


Clyde Wood, Network Chief Executive Officer 

Davis Regional Medical Center 

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center 


Barbara Griffith, MD, President 

Michael Spiritos, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Duke Raleigh Hospital 


Katie Galbraith, MBA, FACHE, President 

Adia Ross, MD, MHA, Chief Medical Officer 

Duke Regional Hospital 


Tom Owens, MD, President 

Lisa Pickett, MD, FACS, Chief Medical Officer 

Duke University Hospital 


Mickey W. Foster, Chief Executive Officer 

Jenifir Bruno, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

FirstHealth of the Carolinas 


Greg Caples, Chief Executive Officer 

Susan Mahoney, Chief Nursing Officer, RN, MSN, CPPS 

Haywood Regional Medical Center 


John G. Green, FACHE, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Joseph C. Mazzola, DO, CPE, MBA 

Iredell Health System 


David Critchlow 

Senior Vice President 

LifePoint Health 


Greg Lowe, President 

Mission Health, HCA Healthcare North Carolina Division 


Paul Hammes, Chief Executive Officer, FACHE

Jonathan R. Snyder, MD, FAAOS, Chief Medical Officer 

Mary F. Blackburn, RN, MSN, FACHE, Vice President for Care Innovation/Chief Clinical Officer 

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital 


Tom Williams, Chief Executive Officer 

Rodney McCaskill, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Johnston UNC Health 


Chris A. Lumsden, FACHE, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Jason W. Edsall, MD, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer 

Robin H. Hodgin, RN, MHA, NE-BC, Senior Vice President, Patient Services & Chief Nursing Officer 

Northern Regional Hospital 


Steve Lawler, President & Chief Executive Officer 

North Carolina Healthcare Association 


Carl S. Armato, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Novant Health 


Penney Burlingame Deal, DHA, RN, FACHE, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Steven Spencer, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer 

Onslow Memorial Hospital 


Jay Kirby, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Pardee UNC Health Care 


Greg Wood, Chief Executive Officer 

Shelly S. Lowery, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Scotland Health Care System 


Phillip E. Jackson, FACHE, DSL, President 

Donald Bowling, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Sentara Albemarle Medical Center 


A Wesley Burks, MD, Chief Executive Officer 

UNC Health Care and Dean, UNC School of Medicine 


Kathy C. Bailey, FACHE, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Anthony Frank, Jr., MD, MBA, FACEP, CPE, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer 

UNC Health Blue Ridge 


Ernie Bovio, President 

Linda Butler, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

UNC Rex Healthcare 


Steve Eblin, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Dr. Candace Bradley, DO, Chief Medical Officer 

UNC Rockingham Health Care 


Chris Ellington, President & Chief Executive Officer 

Joseph Roberts, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer 

UNC Health Southeastern 


Michael R. Waldrum, MD, MSc, MBA 

Chief Executive Officer 

Vidant Health 

Dean, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University 


Donald R. Gintzig, President & Chief Executive Officer 



Mark Holyoak, Chief Executive Officer 

Ron Stahl, MD, Chief Medical Officer 

Wilson Medical Center, A Duke LifePoint Hospital 




About NCHA 

Founded in 1918, North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) is the united voice of the North Carolina healthcare community. Representing more than 130 hospitals, health systems, physician groups and other healthcare organizations, NCHA works with our members to improve the health of North Carolina communities by advocating for sound public policies and collaborative partnerships and by providing insights, services, support and education to expand access to high quality, efficient, affordable and integrated health care for all North Carolinians. 


Media contact:

Cynthia Charles, NCHA
Phone: (919) 677-4223 

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