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Church hosts Dorian medical support shelter

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CLAYTON — C3 Church seized an unusual opportunity to share Christian compassion last week.

The North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services selected the megachurch to serve as a 50-bed state medical support shelter during Hurricane Dorian. The shelter opened at 8 a.m. Thursday at the 8246 Cleveland Road church.

Several hospitals and emergency medical service units from as far away as Buncombe County staffed the shelter.

The medical support shelter was different from the typical emergency shelter. It wasn’t a drop-in facility like an emergency room. Patients were referred by county management resources. Medical professionals were on hand for patients requiring monitoring and management.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, the shelter had admitted 23 patients. Two had been discharged and one was transferred to a local hospital, according to SarahLewis Paul, a state Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman.

Services provided by the Clayton shelter included 24-hour skilled nursing care and hospice care. The facility cared for a patient on a ventilator and a patient with a tracheotomy that required frequent suctioning and extensive wound management.

“There were 58 people working at the shelter,” said Paul. “They included doctors, nurses, EMTs and LPNs.”

This is the third time C3 Church has housed a medical support shelter for the state.

“C3 has a large open area, their former sanctuary that easily converts to a patient ward,” said Paul. “They have good infrastructure, plenty of paved parking, are accessible and centrally located for patients to access from the northeastern and southeastern parts of the state.”

Paul said during a crisis like Hurricane Dorian, there may be a loss of community health care support for individuals who require home health care, hospice or more frequent visits to clinics and medical offices.

“These circumstances can result in a surge of individuals seeking care at already stressed skilled nursing facilities and hospitals,” said Paul. “To help, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Emergency Medical Services set up a 60-bed state medical support shelter in Clayton.”

If needed, the C3 Church’s Clayton facility has the capacity for 100 beds.

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