MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina National Guard is again providing support to emergency departments at Tideland Health locations in Georgetown County.

It comes as cases of COVID-19 surge across the state, fueled by the Omicron variant.

Leaders with Tidelands Health said four National Guard medics arrived Tuesday and immediately began assisting team members in the emergency departments at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital in Murrells Inlet and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital.

“The support is another indication of the seriousness of the latest surge, which has led to a record number of cases statewide, a rising number of hospitalizations and a shortage of available caregivers,” said officials with Tidelands.

They said the National Guard has provided crucial support during previous surges, not online in ERs, but with testing locations and various vaccination sites.

“The professional and skilled National Guard medics have come through for us and our community once again as we weather this latest COVID-19 surge,” said Ashley Capps, vice president of nursing and operations at Tidelands Health. “They always jump right in and work well with our team to help us provide high-quality, compassionate care to patients and serve our community. We expect COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to continue rising in the coming days and weeks, so we welcome the extra hands of these skilled medics.”

Tidelands Health said its emergency departments in both Georgetown and Murrells Inlet have been inundated with patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as those with the normal array of illnesses and conditions that require emergency care.

They recently asked those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms not to come to the emergency departments to get tested for the virus.

“Individuals without symptoms who simply want a COVID-19 test should not go to the ER; instead, find a convenient, free testing site through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control at,” the hospital said.

“Tidelands Health leaders continue to encourage community members to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which provides strong protection from serious illness from COVID-19.”

Individuals should also receive a booster dose of the vaccine when eligible, as a booster dose dramatically increases protection against the Omicron variant.

People can get the lifesaving vaccine and booster at no cost at three Tidelands Health regional vaccination sites:

•           Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, Harris Medical Pavilion entrance, 606 Black River Road, Georgetown. Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•           Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common, 2200 Crow Lane, Myrtle Beach. Every Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•           The Compass Professional Center, 10607 Highway 707, Myrtle Beach. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.