COVID-19 surge challenges hospital capacity and manpower

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 5:57 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2021 at 7:18 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As COVID-19 cases climb, so does pressure on the Midlands hospital system.

DHEC data as of Aug. 8 reports 78.8 percent of Midlands acute hospital beds are full, that percent having climbed from 72 percent in early June.

The Lexington Medical Center confirmed on Friday 96 percent of its available beds are occupied (529 out of 557).

It’s fueled in part by its 155 COVID-19 inpatients (86 percent of which are unvaccinated).

Lexington Medical Center spokesperson Jennifer Wilson said the hospital is declining interview requests for now for the sake of keeping doctor’s bedside meeting the demand.

On Thursday, the Prisma Health system laid out how it’s seen a surge of COVID-19 inpatients. As of July 2, there were 12 inpatients. On Aug. 12, that number had climbed to 304.

Today Prisma Health delivered an update on the ongoing COVID-19 surge we're seeing across our state, featuring emergency...

Posted by Prisma Health on Thursday, August 12, 2021

88.4 percent of those inpatients were not vaccinated.

“Whatever you can do, you need to better. If you’re unvaccinated, if you’re on the fence, see if you can help us and your community including people that depend on you to get vaccinated, because 0 to 12 cannot do anything to get vaccinated. They require the folks around them,” Prisma Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Helmut Albrecht said.

Albrecht and Prisma Midlands Incident Commander Dr. Steve Shelton also laid out data showing the percentage of hospitalized COVID cases involving 20- to 59-year-old’s had doubled since January.

“The vaccine, to the 18 and 24 year old’s, even if you think you can get through this and you might as well be right, but you need to help us out,” Albrecht said.

South Carolina Hospital Association Director of Disaster Preparedness John Williams said he is less concerned about capacity as he is manpower.

“A hospital can have a certain amount of beds but if have they less staff to care for the patients in those beds, it’s just a regular bed. It’s an empty bed, it’s the staff who have no way to care for the patient care influx we’re seeing if we don’t have the staff to do so,” he said.

He cited an ongoing nurse shortage in South Carolina.

RELATED STORY | SC hospitals battle with ‘highly concerning’ nursing shortage and lack of educators

Williams and Albrecht asked that people get their vaccination to ease hospital burden. You can find a location near you here.

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