CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – On Thursday, MUSC introduced a new system that will identify daily COVID-19 alert levels in the Charleston area. The current designation is Code Orange, the second highest warning level.
The four level system includes ‘Code Green,’ ‘Code Yellow,’ ‘Code Orange,’ and ‘Code Red.’
Code Green indicates “controlled and minimal levels” with limited new transmissions. This is the level we will reach when a “vaccine and/or a treatment has been developed and widely deployed.” In this phase, the public can resume “normal contact with others unless sick.”
Code Yellow indicates moderately controlled levels in the Charleston area, with low transmission sustained over several weeks. Under Code Yellow, “testing [and] contact tracing are rapidly meeting demand” and there is a “sustained reduction in hospitalized patients, or few total patients, [with] hospitals able to provide routine and elective health care.” Under these conditions, some restrictions remain in place, including wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting business visits.
Code Orange indicates significant and growing levels in the Charleston area, with ongoing or rapid increases in transmission. Public health measures, such as testing and contact tracing, are “under stress” and hospitals have a significant number of COVID-19 patients, but are still able to provide adequate care. More strict measures are necessary in this zone, including wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding medium and large gatherings, and limiting business visits, and minimizing contact with others.
Code Red is the most extreme category, and indicates severe and uncontrolled levels in the Charleston area, including “significant outbreaks.” Testing and contact tracing efforts are unable to keep up, and hospitals are “at or near capacity and may have to limit new patients.” Under this designation, “stay-at-home” style measures are needed, and residents should not leave home unless for essential activities.