Myrtle Beach-area hospitals notice post-Christmas surge in COVID-19

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach-area hospitals are seeing an increase in COVID-19 numbers following the holiday weekend.

Paul Richardson, the chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center, said a post-Christmas surge in COVID-19 cases was expected, but he was hopeful that it wouldn’t be this soon. 

“We have seen our numbers increasing fairly dramatically, even going back before Christmas,” he said.

The hospital has seen about 100 positive COVID-19 cases since Dec. 23, according to Richardson.

“That’s a lot for just a few days, especially when you compare it to the last several weeks,” he said.

But, the most concerning finding from the hospital, Richardson said, is an increase from seven patients on Dec. 23, to 11 on Monday, which he calls “a fairly dramatic increase in just three or four days.”

Conway Medical Center currently sits at a 68% occupancy rate. Compared to the past, it’s a smaller number, but Richardson said it is higher than the last few weeks.

“My gut tells me that more than likely folks were getting together before Christmas, even sometimes after Thanksgiving, because it had been just a few weeks in between the two holidays,” he said.

Looking at other local hospitals, Tidelands sits at 93% occupancy with nine COVID-19 positive patients. Three are in the intensive care unit, and one is on a ventilator.

Grand Strand Medical Center has 24 positive in-house patients, with 100% occupancy until more patient discharges happen.

“We enjoy being with our families and celebrating the holidays and that kind of thing,” Richardson said. “Unfortunately, the downside of that in a pandemic is we will see increasing cases more than likely.”

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