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Cape Fear Valley Health doctor discusses holiday safety, COVID

Fayetteville Observer - 11/25/2021

Nov. 25—Cases of COVID-19 in Cumberland County have come down recently but residents should stay vigilant over the holidays, the chief clinical officer at Cape Fear Valley Health said.

Dr. Michael Zappa, who also serves as Cape Fear Valley's chief of emergency services, talked about the disease and holiday safety Tuesday during the health system's Making Rounds Live episode. The show was broadcast on the WIDU radio network and streamed on Cape Fear Valley's Facebook page.

Zappa said Cape Fear Valley experienced the peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations when the delta variant of the disease hit.

"Hospitalizations have come down to a much more manageable level," he said. "If you think back to when we were at the peak of the pandemic ... we had 150 people (with COVID-19) in the hospital and almost 30 of them in the ICU on ventilators."

Currently, there are about 30 COVID-19 patients at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Zappa said.

"COVID has become a disease of the unvaccinated," he said. "Those are the people sick enough getting into the hospital."

In addition to the unvaccinated, a small percentage of vaccinated people with compromised immune systems also have to be hospitalized for COVID-19, Zappa said.

In Cumberland County, about 70% of the population is vaccinated, he said.

"For all those who are in the 70%, thank you," he said. "You've not only helped yourself, you've helped your family, you've helped your loved ones, but you've even helped strangers."

Zappa said parents should also get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I would be getting my kids (vaccinated) if they were under 18," Zappa said. "Fortunately, my kids are all over 18, and they've all been vaccinated."

Zappa said he recommends people who travel during the holidays should wear a mask and carry and use hand sanitizer.

"I think you can be smart ... and you can go ahead and travel," he said.

The episode of Making Rounds Live can be seen on Cape Fear Valley's Facebook page.

Health and education writer Ariana-Jasmine Castrellon can be reached at or 910-486-3561.


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