Published on March 19, 2020

UNC Health’s Triangle Region to Perform Only Priority, Urgent and Emergent Procedures and Surgical Cases

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – March 19, 2020 – As part of a nationwide effort to reduce the use of medical supplies, UNC Health’s Triangle region (UNC Medical Center, UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health and UNC Physicians Network practices in the Triangle will begin performing only priority, urgent and emergent procedures and surgical cases. UNC Health joins other major healthcare systems in the state and nation in making this very difficult decision

“The spread of COVID-19 in our state requires that we serve as good stewards of our resources and become very judicious with our supplies that will be needed for our physicians and staff to care for very sick patients,” says Wesley Burks, MD, UNC Health CEO.

UNC Health’s Triangle region relies on the clinical judgment of each patient’s medical team to decide which patients should remained scheduled, based on defined criteria. Already scheduled patients will be contacted by their care team if their case is to be rescheduled. “No surgery or procedure will be postponed that would cause harm to the patient if it is not done within the next four weeks,” added Burks.

UNC Health physicians have developed guidelines for which procedures will be considered medically necessary, like heart by-pass surgery or trauma cases, and which procedures can be delayed with less impact for the patient.

“It is our responsibility to be prepared for what will likely be an exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina,” said Burks. “We have hundreds of colleagues across the state preparing our hospitals for the likely effects of this pandemic.”

UNC Health is working with national, state and local governments and agencies to prepare for COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19 and its signs and symptoms, people should go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website or

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