MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Governor Henry McMaster is working with a public health emergency plan committee to prepare for any impact the coronavirus could have on the state.
There have been at least 11 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday, but Grand Strand Medical Emergency Preparedness Director Matt Tumbleson tells News13 there’s actually something we should be more worried about in our area.
“The chances are always going to be there, but with the precautions that the federal government has put in place with travel restrictions, we hope to limit that,” said Tumbleson.
Grand Strand Medical Center is being cautious, with enough supplies to treat 4,000 patients, in case of an emergency, like a coronavirus outbreak.
“So, we talk about gowns, gloves, masks. The things that are protective equipment for our staff,” said Tumbleson.
It’s not likely the Grand Strand or South Carolina will see a case of the novel virus, but the hospital in Myrtle Beach is asking people to wash their hands. If you feel like you have symptoms of the virus, Tumbleson says it’s important to see a provider and not wait.
In fact, Tumbleson says we should be more worried about the flu, than the coronavirus outbreak.
“What we’ve seen in the cases here in America is actually less morbidity and less mortality than the flu virus. So, they’re saying about one to three percent. The flu virus is a little more than that, about four to six percent,” he pointed out.
If someone did come in with symptoms, even testing would take a while.
“We would partner with our state health department, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and with the CDC to make the testing available for that patient,” said Tumbleson. “So, it’s not something that can be tested on demand, it’s something that has to be done in Atlanta.”
Medical staff at Grand Strand Medical Center is asking each patient if they have been to the Wuhan province of China, where the virus started.
The only location to test for the coronavirus as of now, for any hospital in the U.S., is the CDC headquarters in Atlanta.