Charlsie Woodard, a nurse practitioner and hospitalist at the East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center, stands with Tracy Glover, a COVID-19 survivor.

“I just had a cough, and when I started running a fever, I knew something was off,” said Tracy Glover, referring to how he felt in March of 2020.

Glover’s illness coincided with the early days of a new virus affecting people around the world.

“From the time I was diagnosed with COVID, to the time that I was intubated, became a blur,” said Glover.

In all, Glover spent 18 days at Vidant Medical Center – and nearly five of those on a ventilator.

“The concern when I first met him, I’m thinking, ‘Ok we’ve got a young, early 50’s gentleman who fits the profile of the person that should not survive,’” said Charlsie Woodard, a nurse practitioner and hospitalist at the East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center.

Woodard was one member of a large care team at Vidant involved in Tracy’s care, with her enthusiasm leaving a lasting impression.

“To have her come in and encourage me, push me and to give me goals, really meant a lot,” said Glover.

And so on the year anniversary of Glover’s discharge, he celebrated the occasion by making good on a promise to give Woodard a hug, in gratitude for the care he received.

“I’m glad to be here,” said Glover. “Because without the support and prayers of my family, and the great care of the staff here at Vidant, I would not have recovered as well as I did.”

“I feel like I was the calvary,” said Woodard. “So many people had taken such good care of him before I met him, and I just got to wean his oxygen and be a cheerleader and help him get home.”

A shared experience bringing forth recovery and reflection.

“He’s a COVID win, and that’s what we would call him,” said Woodard. “It’s a COVID win.”

“It really does change your perspective on life itself,” said Glover. “How every breath is not a guarantee, it’s just another opportunity.”

Covid-19 | Health News

Brian Floyd vaccinates a community member in Greenville.

Audio courtesy of WPTM-FM – Byrne Radio (Roanoke Rapids)

Dr. Kenneth Robert, Vidant family physician

Dr. Kenneth Robert, Vidant family physician

COVID-19 has been devastating to our communities in eastern North Carolina from the small businesses that have closed to all of the loved ones we have lost. The vaccine is the best tool that we have to move past the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Robert said that the measures we took to slow the pandemic, like wearing masks and social distancing, were effective. Now, with a vaccine in hand we have a proven safe way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Right now we have vaccines that have been tested and have been deemed safe,” Dr. Robert said. “Taking the vaccine would truly help to really overcome the devastation that the pandemic is causing throughout eastern North Carolina, the United States and the world.”

Vidant Health has vaccinated many people across eastern North Carolina and efforts are ongoing to reach community members who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Vidant still has COVID-19 vaccine clinics open throughout eastern North Carolina.

“We’re trying to get to as many people as we can,” Dr. Robert said. “We’re really trying to get the word out that the vaccines are available. In the early days it was somewhat difficult to get a vaccine… At this point in time, that is not the case. We have vaccines available for most anyone.”

Dr. Robert stressed that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. While side effects do occur for some people after receiving the vaccine, they are typically very minor.

As we look to a more hopeful future, receiving your vaccine is the best way to fight this pandemic, not only for yourself, but for those you love.

He also said the faster we can get people in the community vaccinated, the faster we can get back to living comfortably without the worry of infecting others with COVID-19.

If you have any questions regarding the vaccine, please contact your trusted doctor. To make your vaccine appointment, visit Vidanthealth.com/Vaccinate or call 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Covid-19 | Health News

COVID-19 vaccines are prepared in a clinic

The new location will initially be open Monday-Friday and can accommodate up to 350 vaccine appointments per day. Vidant may adjust days and hours of operations for the clinic based on demand. Appointments are required and are already available at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate or by calling 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

The Convention Center clinic will pause operations from April 7-12 due to an event hosted at the Convention Center. The Convention Center clinic will re-open April 13 to complete already-scheduled second doses only and will permanently close after all scheduled second doses are complete.

Effective April 8 and until further notice, all new doses in Greenville will be given at the Vidant Greenville Vaccine Clinic on Arlington Boulevard.

Although the vaccine offers great hope, Vidant encourages everyone to do their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. Those who receive the vaccine should still practice these important safety measures.

Visit VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate for more information.

Covid-19 | Health News

“I’ve never had an opportunity to do anything so important,” said Karen Harris, a pharmacy technician who has been on the job for more than 20 years. But what’s been required for COVID-19 is a first.

“This is our contribution to the public,” said Harris, who is part of a system-wide team helping prep vaccines at the Vidant / Pitt County Large-Scale Vaccine Clinic at the Greenville Convention Center.

“It’s kind of overwhelming to even think about being involved. And I’m grateful, so grateful that I can be a part of it – because this is a part of history,” she said.

The vaccines used at the convention center get their start at a pharmacy at Vidant Medical Center (VMC) each morning. An early start — and a lot of planning and coordination — ensures vaccines arrive when and where they are needed across eastern North Carolina.

“We carry a tray of vaccines out, with 20, 30, 40 doses over to our vaccination area,” said Andy Grimone, assistant director of pharmacy at VMC. “The doses are all prepared and no one really knows how they got to that point.”

What’s not a mystery — the significance of their role and the doses of hope they deliver.

“The experts and the science behind it is saying the vaccine is working,” said Grimone. “So to know that what we’re doing here is making an impact in eastern North Carolina, is pretty awesome. And we couldn’t do it without this team.”

Harris agrees. “Everybody here is dedicated to what we’re doing. We all want to stop COVID-19 and the best way to do that is to vaccinate.”

For additional information on vaccine appointment availability and how to register for your dose of hope, please visit www.VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate.

Covid-19 | Health News

The outside of the Vidant Wellness Center in Greenville

Vaccinations will be offered at the Vidant/Pitt County Large-Scale Vaccine Clinic at the Greenville Convention Center and second dose appointments will be scheduled on-site at the time of the appointment.

There are currently a large number of appointments available, which can also be scheduled by any eligible community member. Appointments are required and available as supplies last, and can be scheduled at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate.

College students should bring their student ID at the time of their appointment.

Although the vaccine offers great hope, Vidant encourages everyone to do their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. Those who receive the vaccine should still practice these important safety measures.

Covid-19 | Press Releases

Media gathers during Governor Roy Cooper's visit to Greenville

The Vidant / Pitt County Large-Scale Vaccine Clinic at the Greenville Convention Center has helped thousands of people get their dose of hope in eastern North Carolina and beyond.

On March 19, the site served as a backdrop for a visit from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other state and local officials.

“We see the data of where these vaccinations are going,” said Cooper. “Therefore, we know what we need to do and we know who is being left out.”

“We’re not done,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO of Vidant Health. “The game is still being played and we have to play all 60 minutes of this football game, and keep our communities safe.”

The site itself has been a monumental undertaking in support of the communities Vidant serves.

With support from team members and volunteers – to date, more than 70,000 vaccinations have been administered here and at other vaccination sites across the region.

“It’s been a tragic and a trying time,” said Dr. John Silvernail, director of the Pitt County Health Department. “It’s also been a time of great cooperation and a chance to learn from one another.”

While much great work has been done, state and local leaders remain focused on the path ahead.

“As Dr. Waldrum and Dr. Silvernail also said, we cannot spike the football too early,” said Cooper. “We know these variants are out there. We’ve seen them flare up in other countries, in other states. We don’t want that to happen in North Carolina.”

For the latest information on vaccine availability and eligibility, please visit VidantHealth.com/vaccinate.

Covid-19 | Featured | Health News

A teacher gives a thumbs up after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Greenville, N.C. – March 1, 2021 – Vidant Health has opened COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling for eligible Group 3 community members – child care and PreK-12 school workers – from across eastern North Carolina. Appointments are required, as Vidant will not be able to accept walk-up or drive-up vaccinations. Importantly, Vidant is still vaccinating community members 65 and older, and encourages those eligible to receive their vaccine.

Eligible community members can view appointment availability by conveniently visiting VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate or by calling 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The online appointment scheduler is the fastest and most convenient way to view and schedule an appointment. If internet access is not available or special assistance is required, community members may call 252-847-8000.

Vidant serves a region of 1.4 million people and appointments are expected to fill up quickly. The public is encouraged to be patient as it is expected to take months to vaccinate eligible community members.

Although the vaccine offers great hope, Vidant encourages everyone to do their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. Those who receive the vaccine should still practice these important safety measures. Importantly, COVID-19 patients are relying on Vidant for care and our team members are not immune from community spread. Please do your part to protect yourself and those around you.

Community members can visit VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate to view appointment availability, stay up to date on Vidant’s vaccine efforts and sign up for email updates.

Covid-19 | Press Releases

An EVS team member cleans a hospital bed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Feb. 24, the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), who have seen COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began, shared their journey on Hometown Healing. Myra Thompson, the nurse manager of the MICU at VMC, said it is a part of daily life for those on her unit.

“We can’t get away from it,” she said. “It doesn’t go away. It is in my head all the time, whether I’m here or not.”

Thompson said it has been difficult to be away from family, friends and loved ones during the pandemic, but it is necessary to keep them safe. She said she does not want to be the one who could possibly spread the virus to a loved one because she works with so many infected patients.

She said some days don’t even feel real when working on the unit with all she sees. But she knows there is work that needs to be done and people who need help.

“We have families too and we have things we are worried about at home and all kinds of other things and we come here,” Thompson said, “we are expected to put that aside and do what we do. It’s more than being a hero for working in this unit.”

For Thompson, having a team to go through the daily challenges with makes things better. The team has also benefited from a tranquility room on the unit, where they can take a break away from the unit and have a moment to breathe.

Another source of inspiration and hope for brighter days ahead, comes from the community.

“Just love us. Motivate us. It’s the hardest work that we’ve ever done, and we do it well,” she said. “Just don’t give up on us. Please wear your mask, please wash your hands. Please stay home unless you have to be out. Just keep loving and supporting us.”

Behind the teams directly working with patients to keep everyone safe during the pandemic is the Environmental Services Team (EVS). This group of team members was recognized on Feb. 23 for their efforts throughout the pandemic.

Natashia Scott, the EVS manager at VMC, along with about 265 other team members, work behind the scenes every day to ensure doctors, nurses, patients, visitors and everyone who enters the hospital doors are as protected as possible from the virus.

It is not a job without risks.

“We disinfect and clean patient areas in the hospital to make sure it is clean and conducive for our patients,” Scott said. “We have to touch every surface, like walls, and we have to take the curtains down. We’re touching every high-touch surface like light handles and door handles.”

COVID-19 fundamentally changed how the team had to do their jobs. She said what used to be a 30-minute job can now take an hour.

The pandemic also brought more technology to the team.

“We introduced solaris, which is a UV disinfect tool. It ensures all of the surfaces that we might not get are penetrated, sanitized and disinfected,” Scott said.

She said she knows it is a scary thing, to go into a room and clean room that a COVID-19-positive patient has been in. But with a community and hospital relying on them, they step up to get the job done.

Scott said as a manager, it is important that she stands with her team and makes them feel comfortable during challenging times. Her team is working together to help a community.

“Our housekeepers are the real heroes. None of this would be possible without them,” Scott said.

Watch and read more on the MICU team’s story and EVS team’s story.

Covid-19 | Health News

Musicians play at the Vidant/Pitt Large-Scale Vaccine Clinic at the Greenville Convention Center.

“Music therapy is not a new science,” said Vidant Chief Experience Officer Dr. Julie Kennedy Oehlert. “We know that music can calm anxieties and ease pain. Music from internationally renowned musicians provides a soothing experience for community members in the observation area after they receive their dose of hope.”

Four Seasons Artistic Director Ara Gregorian values the partnership they have built with Vidant. “Four Seasons is committed to bringing great music and musicians to as many people as possible, and I can think of no better way to do this during the pandemic than bringing musicians from around the world to regularly perform at the Large-Scale Vaccine Clinic,” Gregorian said.

“The beautiful, healing music gratefully provided by Four Seasons will forever be a part of the memories of those that receive their vaccine,” Dr. Oehlert said. Vidant and Four Seasons have partnered for years to bring musical experiences to patients at Vidant Medical Center via live performances and video recordings featuring acclaimed Four Seasons musicians.

Dr. Oehlert said, “This collaboration is yet another demonstration of how our community comes together to support each other during this pandemic and other times of need.”

Vidant has vaccinated over 10,000 people thus far. For more information about vaccination appointments, visit www.Vidanthealth.com/vaccinate or sign up for email updates on Vidant’s vaccine efforts as new information becomes available.

Covid-19 | Health News