Lowcountry Hospitals say delta variant caused a 200% increase in COVID-19 cases in one week

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Hospitals across the Lowcountry are starting to feel the pressure from an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Lowcountry physicians say right now, over 90% of the cases they are seeing are of the delta variant. 

Dr. Chris McLain, the Chief Physician Officer at Roper St. Francis Healthcare notes an “almost 200 percent increase in the last week.”

He says the high number of cases can be attributed to a lag in vaccinations and the delta variant.

Dr. McLain says, “I think every hospital system, even now is struggling to handle the level even they are getting now currently. We don’t see any of that stopping in the next week or so”. 

Dr. McClain is right — Roper is not alone.

Trident Health reports 48 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday. The hospital says most COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization were not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) says at the end of June, they didn’t have any cases of COVID-19 in the hospital and as of Monday afternoon, they have over 31 cases.

Dr. Kuppalli says the case count for the Medical University is fluctuating on an hourly basis, “I think we are definitely planning for anything that could happen”. She points to Florida as an example of strain being seen on hospitals once again.  

As of now, all hospitals say they have both the space and protocols in place in case the surge does come. However, they are continuing to remind the Lowcountry that we are still in a pandemic.  

I know people are tired, I know people want to be done with COVID, but COVID is not done with us. 

Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, Division of Infectious Diseases MUSC 

In addition to getting vaccinated, all hospitals suggest getting back to the basics of mask-wearing and social distancing. They say their fear is an even more transmissible variant could come after the delta variant.

To schedule an appointment or find a COVID-19 testing site, click here.

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