MUSC Update: 39 COVID-19 positive staff, new PPE guidance

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – MUSC’s Friday update provided new statistics on the number of COVID-19 cases the university is facing, as well as updates on personal protective equipment guidance for healthcare workers.


As of Friday, 39 members of the healthcare workforce have tested positive for COVID-19. MUSC said “it is clear in may cases that our care team members who tested positive…acquired from community and travel transmission. Many of the team members “have fared well and recovered quickly.”

MUSC described the COVID-19 return to work policy as “very conservative.” Members are not allowed to come to work if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, “or if they have not completed the testing process when known to have a high-risk exposure in or outside of work.”

Patients who may have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive staff member are notified according to internal notification and tracing protocols.

MUSC has seen around 4,000 patients at the West Ashley specimen collection site and completed 4,389 COVID-19 tests. To put this in perspective, MUSC conducted 361 tests in the two days between their last update on Wednesday, and this update.

In addition to the 39 healthcare workers, there are currently 4 inpatient cases and 262 outpatient cases of COVID-19 identified by MUSC. This is one less inpatient case than reported in the Wednesday update. Outpatient cases increased by 88.


MUSC’s supply status is currently still “green,” meaning they are not out of any necessary items at the moment.

In anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 patients, they are centralizing supply distribution and reducing the overall use of personal protective equipment (PPE) where possible. Healthcare providers have been advised to:

  •  Work expeditiously to transfer non-COVID-19 patients out of airborne infection isolation rooms
  • Centralize the supply of all PPE items in a secured area.
  • Clearly identify essential personnel who will be caring for any rule out or confirmed COVID-19 patient and limit entry into the patient room to those essential individuals.
  • Use face-fitting N95 respirators while in the same room as a rule-out COVID-19 or lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient for most patient care activities (There are some exceptions that are considered safe for care team members.)
  • Limit the number of individuals in the room when performing high-risk aerosol generating
  • procedures.
  • Use face-fitting N95 respirators while in the same room as a rule-out COVID-19 or lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient.
  •  Not wear face-fitting N95 respirators while in hospital common areas that are not related to patient care activity.
  • Use surgical/isolation face masks when experiencing minor respiratory symptoms attributable to non-infectious causes (ex- mild nasal congestion consistent with personal allergic history).
  • Care team members may now wear surgical/isolation face masks while in common areas of the hospital.


MUSC continues to collaborate with the Army Corps of Engineers an the National Guard to plan a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) style facility. This facility would provide an additional 270 beds to be used for non-critical COVID-19 patients.

MUSC can also use space in the University Hospital Extension and Ashley River Tower for an additional 130 beds.

Testing capacity continues to increase at MUSC. They are “shifting the majority of COVID-19 testing needs to in-house labs” and hope to conduct all testing in house in the near future.

DONATIONS REQUESTED: (MUSC Warehouse 4295 Arco Lane Charleston, SC 29418)

  • N95 masks
  • Surgical masks
  • Protective eyewear
  • Face guards and face shields
  • Sterile gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Industrial cleaning wipes
  • Thermometers (all kinds)
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Azithromycin
  • Ethanol
  • 200 proof USP-grade alcohol

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