MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Tidelands Health could be forced to make some service changes due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
Tidelands Health runs two hospitals in the region with most patients being from Horry County. The current occupancy rate is 104%.
“We can operate a little above 100% and function OK,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer at Tidelands Health. “But up to 104%, means that we’re holding patients in our ER right now more than we’d like to.”
Resetar said the summer months are normally busy for local hospitals, but the high occupancy rates at Tidelands are tied to the rise in admissions of patients with COVID-19. Right now, 42 beds are occupied by COVID-positive patients.
“So we have that normal summer surge, maybe plus some,” Resetar said. “And now these 40-50 patients of COVID on top of that is very problematic.”
Tidelands evaluates the numbers every day and Resetar said rates don’t show signs of dropping, forcing the hospital to consider making service changes.
“We’re not projecting much is going to fall,” she said. “As we continue to see every day get a little busier, we now have to talk about what services and how we can rearrange services to not impact those inpatient beds. We don’t want people to delay their surgery but in some cases, we may have no choice.”
To manage the influx of patients, hospital workers are picking up extra shifts.
“There’s only so much they can do,” Resetar said. “It’s very demanding. It’s very difficult. And it’s very discouraging for staff when we’re not getting in control of this pandemic.”
Resetar said the hospital is working to provide COVID-positive patients with earlier diagnoses so doctors can treat patients sooner and have better success keeping them out of emergency rooms.