CANDOR – Montgomery County Sheriffs Deputy Bud Phouang, a School Resource Officer at West Middle School, passed away Tuesday evening after contracting COVID-19 marking the 11th death in North Carolina from the Wuhan Coronavirus. Phouang’s age and underlying health conditions were not released.
From the Montgomery Herald:
“[…] Phouang, a resident of Candor, was a husband, son, father and brother. He was well-known and loved in the community by his coworkers at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and by the many West Middle School students he mentored over the years, while serving as a School Resource Officer. Photos of Phouang with students flooded social media last night as word spread of his death.
Phouang was alerted Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was transported to Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst on Monday afternoon. […]”
Phoang’s deaths comes as we enter what many experts believe to be a critical 2-3 week period in which hospitalizations and and deaths spike from COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, out of approximately 23,100 tests administered, there were more than 1,500 test-positive cases, the most popular metric reported. This number tells us very little, however, because it is entirely dependent on the amount of testing done and indicates nothing about the condition of those testing positive for the virus.
We may never really know how widespread the virus actually is due to the apparent prevalence of infected persons with very mild symptoms, or none at all. As such, it is hard to gauge the overall danger level of the virus, but concerns over hospital utilization can be easier to track as the virus hits us harder over these next few weeks.
The latest updates through March 31 show 157 current hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients across the State of North Carolina. It’s hard to tell how or if that number really changes if patients are discharged after recovery, but presumably that number will rise over the next few weeks.
Below is a snapshot of current capacity for hospitals in North Carolina.
The spare capacity ebbs and flows in every hospital. It is not unusual for some busier hospitals to be full a couple times a week. Accounts of hospital staff encouraging doctors to discharge as many recovered patients as they can to make more room for an influx at the emergency department are common place. Those are in normal times, so with an extra large wave of sickness, it is easier to see how a hospital could easily be overwhelmed.
We’ll bring you more perspectives on the impact of the virus, and the impact of government reactions to it, as these critical weeks transpire.