BOONE — As the number of COVID-19 cases increases each day on local, state, national and global levels, the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, which includes Watauga Medical Center in Boone and Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, has plans in place for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals statewide have been planning for surges since the beginning of the pandemic, and in June the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program released a study that states hospitals in Greenville, Charlotte and Triangle are “most at risk of reaching capacity in the next couple of months. However, it is possible that the constantly ‘shifting winds’ of viral spread could cause currently stable regions, or counties within them, to experience sudden growth requiring rapid mitigation.”

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