Lowcountry hospitals working to keep up with rising COVID-19 cases

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Hospitals, ICU beds and even ventilators are close to full capacity and use at hospitals all across the Lowcountry. Medical experts with Roper St. Francis say a majority of COVID-19 patients they’ve seen have the Delta variant and most of them are unvaccinated.

“A month ago, I could count the number of patients we had on one hand and now we are up to 78 patients,” says Chief Medical Officer Robert Oliverio.

Dr. Oliverio says a majority of the COVID-19 patients in ICU beds have the Delta variant. He says 50 patients at Roper St. Francis under the age of 60 are hospitalized and 28 are older than 60, putting more people on ventilators.

“Over the course of the past couple of weeks numbers have spiked considerably and we saw this coming,” says Dr. Oliverio.

According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control more than 80% of hospital beds are occupied in Charleston County and 277 ICU beds are occupied, 39 of those are COVID-19 patients. In Dorchester County 92% of beds are taken including 22 ICU beds and 5 are COVID-19 patients. In Berkeley County 69% of beds are full with no COVID-19 patients in ICU beds.

Dr. Oliverio says the best way to protect yourself is by wearing a mask and being vaccinated.

“This is the issue, we can separate the sick people and the not so sick people by that one factor, are you vaccinated or not,” he says.

A county-by-county breakdown of hospital capacities across the state: https://scdhec.gov/covid19/hospital-bed-capacity-covid-19

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