Horry County warns of increased wait time for ambulances

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County issued a warning that there could be an increased wait time for those who need an ambulance.

Horry County said due to COVID-19 increases and hospitals being at or near capacity, ambulance availability is reduced. The county said the amount of time crews are spending at hospitals has increased while waiting for hospital bed availability.

During Tuesday’s Horry County Public Safety Committee meeting, Chief Joseph Tanner said the department is now averaging between 20 and 25 COVID-19 calls per day.

Dr. Charles Tarbart is the head of the emergency department at Conway Medical Center. He said the amount of time the hospital has been on diversion in the past week is unprecedented.

“If you need to come to the emergency department, please be patient,” he said. “We are doing the best we possibly can. We’ll get to everybody as soon as we possibly can. Just understand that the wait times are likely going to be very long.”

The county also said ambulances now have to travel farther than normal to respond to emergencies across the county, which can increase wait time.

The county said it will continue to communicate with hospitals to get through the challenges.

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