DHEC: “All hands on deck” as SC reaches “pivotal point” in COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

Registered nurse Shelly Girardin prepares to go on rounds after donning personal protective equipment inside an area of Scotland County Hospital sealed off with plastic to care for the influx of COVID-19 patients Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Memphis, Mo. The coronavirus pandemic is devastating rural hospitals, including the tiny 25-bed facility. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Friday announced 2,470 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, the highest daily total since the beginning of the pandemic.

Following the announcement of the spike in cases, DHEC, the SC Hospital association (SCHA), and MUSC released a statement urging South Carolinians to take actions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The agencies point out that statewide, “hospital systems are becoming increasingly burdened in caring for all those who are severely suffering from this deadly virus,” with hospitals statewide at a 78.59% occupancy rate.

In Charleston County, hospitals are at 84.1% occupancy; Dorchester County hospitals are at 81.1% occupancy; Berkeley County hospitals are at 71.7% occupancy; Colleton County hospitals are at 51.1% occupancy.

To put that in perspective, there are only 25 hospital beds available in Dorchester County — for COVID-19 patients, emergencies, surgeries, other illnesses, etc.

Officials say that increasing evidence shows “that household spread is contributing to new cases.” They are urging anyone with possible exposure to follow quarantine guidelines.

Additionally, everyone should wear a face mask, which studies show has significant impact on reducing virus spread. DHEC cited a study that suggests “mask-wearing by just 75% of the US population alone would flatten the projected incidence curve and reduce infections by 37%.”

Other critical mitigation measures include practice social distancing, limit contact with those from different households, and routinely get tested.

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