COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain high at area hospitals; Tidelands expands vaccine clinic


HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The number of coronavirus patients at area hospitals is still high, with record totals at one local hospital.

Grand Strand Medical Center (GSMC) currently has 83 patients with COVID-19 at the hospital. The number peaked last week at 88, according to Mary Scott, GSMC infection prevention director.

“And that was higher than what we had in January,” Scott said. “[In] January we peaked at 84 hospitalized COVID patients.”

Scott said four people at the hospital died from COVID-19 over the weekend. The ages ranged from 33 to 75 years old.

“All four were unvaccinated, so that’s incredibly sad,” Scott said. “The age of those that have passed has been a lot lower than what we saw in previous surges.”

At Conway Medical Center (CMC), 51 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Fourty-six of the 51 are not vaccinated.

Dr. Paul Richardson, chief medical officer at CMC, said the number of patients with coronavirus at CMC is high, but has remained fairly steady in the past week.

“It kind of jumps up and jumps down two or three patients every day,” Richardson said.

While the rate of hospital admissions has leveled a bit, Richardson said the virus is still spreading quickly in the community.

“We’re not seeing the rate of rise that we saw as far as inpatients that we saw for a few days; however, we are still seeing a lot of positives just in our overall testing,” Richardson said.

Tidelands Health, at its two hospitals, reports 52 patients with COVID-19. Fourty-seven are not fully vaccinated. Tidelands said vaccine demand grew by 300% last week, possibly due to the current surge in cases combined with FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

Because of the increase in demand, Tidelands Health moved its Murrells Inlet vaccine clinic to a larger location inside the Compass Professional Center off of Highway 707 in the Burgess community. The new clinic opened Monday, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Starting last week, we’ve been over 200 [vaccinations] each day, and we needed just a lot more room for parking, just for people to wait to fill out paperwork, and it really wasn’t feasible to continue to do it in our smaller location,” Jason Self, Tidelands Health director of operations, said.

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