How Lowcountry hospitals are responding to the COVID-19 surge

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CHARLESTON S.C. (WCBD)- Lowcountry hospitals are having different needs when it comes to handling COVID-19 cases.

Hospitals across the state are beginning to hit their bed capacity, especially in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has 21 active COVID-19 patients and 24 patients with COVID-19 related complications in its ICU.

“Clearly COVID has increased across the state and many of those sickest patients with COVID have come to our academic medical center,” said Dr. David Zaas, CEO of the Charleston Division of MUSC Health

Even though the hospital is nearing capacity, they are used to operating at that level.

“Our ICUs are often full even prior to COVID,” said Dr. Zaas.

MUSC also saying that even though it has higher numbers in the ICU, the hospital will be able to care safely for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

“While our ICUs are at capacity, that’s something we are used to and we’re very comfortable about how we can manage this level of care across the board and ensure that everyone can have access to critical care if needed,” said Dr. Zaas.

Zaas says that some people have cancelled their surgeries, but made it clear that it is safe to undergo an operation at MUSC right now. He said that the hospital has no plans to cancel any surgeries.

Not every hospital is able to keep up with the COVID-19 surge like MUSC has. Tidelands Health is calling in 12 members of the South Carolina National Guard to help staffing numbers.

There are 10 COVID-19 patients in the ICU at Tidelands Health. Each of them is on a ventilator and all of them are unvaccinated.

A staffing shortage partially due to some employees needing to quarantine has spread Tidelands thin. In addition to its ICU numbers, Tidelands says that more people are coming in for COVID-19 treatment that are not inpatient.

“Its a challenging time, it’s the hardest of the three surges by far that we’ve had and I think that’s probably because people are getting sicker faster,” said Gayle Resetar, COO of Tidelands Health.

Roper Saint Francis has 37 COVID-19 patients in its ICU and 30 of them are unvaccinated.

Trident Medical Center has 125 COVID-19 patients in their hospitals. 66 at Trident Medical Center and 59 at Summerville Medical Center.

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