South Carolina hospitals under pressure amid the Covid-19 surge in cases, some hospitals running out of beds

The situation with the latest Covid-19 wave is nothing but critical and hospitals are under heavy pressure lately, with an increase in the number of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients.

“We are taking care of more patients than we have ever taken care of in the healthcare system. When we look at total COVID and non-COVID patients combined we reach organizational highs almost daily,” said Dr. Mitchell Siegan, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of acute care at Roper St. Francis Healthcare.

Covid-19 cases are increasing for some time now in the country and in the Palmetto State.

According to the DHEC reports, this week there are almost 300 new hospitalizations across the state which is 39% more compared to last week.

Hospitals are operating at their full capacity and some of them are already experiencing ICU beds shortage. However, some of the hospitals are still managing decent number of available beds.

Leaders at Roper St. Francis said they have had challenges navigating patients from the ER to the ICU. But despite the current situation, they still have around 40 beds available.

Currently, the biggest issue hospitals face in South Carolina is the workers shortage. According to the hospitals, they can still manage the current situation with beds availability, the workers shortage is something they can not manage in such a short-term demand.

“We have 33 contract nurses arriving on Monday. We had 12 other nurses arrive earlier this week. We have also worked with our existing staff to make it attractive for them to pick up other shifts,” said Dr. Siegan.

In order to make it work, hospital workers are working extra hours to fill the gap. Hospital officials are also working to hire new workers amid the Covid-19 surge.

“Our teammates are working extra hours on weekends, nights, often times missing family engagements, time from their loved ones. Just to take care of all the extra patients we are seeing,” he said.

These are the current number of patients some of the hospitals have in the ICU:

Trident Health System said 107. MUSC said 56. Roper St. Francis said 25. East Cooper Medical Center said a low number. Ralph Johnson VA said 7.

There’s a new trend when it comes to the patients coming through the doors.

“We have not admitted a single vaccinated patient under the age of 70 to our hospital system. As a matter of fact, today 57% of the patients in our care with COVID are under the age of 50. That’s very different from the other two surges,” he said.

The situation with the unvaccinated is similar to all the other hospitals in the state. According to latest data, 96 out of 107 hospitalized patients are unvaccinated at the Trident Health System.

Health officials once again ask everyone to get vaccinated.

“We are doubling down on our efforts to make vaccinations easy and accessible for everyone. We now have vaccination walk in clinics. No appointment,” he said.

Cindy Carey


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