Post-holiday COVID-19 surge hits Grand Strand hospitals, 1 at capacity while others are close

Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – Horry and Georgetown county hospitals are seeing the post-holiday surge as the percent of positive COVID-19 tests reaches new heights in South Carolina.

Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital is operating at 100% occupancy, although COVID-19 patients don’t account for the whole number. There are currently 60 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the facility.

“Every single day there are huddles of teams that work twice a day on two different shifts, every single day, seven days a week who look at discharges, the number of admissions, the number of people in the ER that need a hospital bed, the ICU census etcetera,” Tidelands Health chief operating officer, Gayle Resetar, said. “This is a every 12-hour effort. It’s not that things come to a screeching halt if you’re at 100, it’s just a constantly moving target.”

In Horry County, Grand Strand Medical is operating at 99%. Right now, there are 76 in-house COVID-19 patients. The hospital is experiencing a “significant peak over the last week since the holidays,” according to a hospital spokesperson.

At Conway Medical Center, doctors and nurses are caring for 47 COVID-19 patients, a number that almost matches the hospital’s COVID-19 peak in July, when it had an average of 50 COVID-19-positive patients a day the week of July 20.

“Along the whole Grand Strand, in the last week we’ve seen record numbers of hospitalizations along the whole Grand Strand, up to 250; with all four hospitals in the area,” Resetar said. “The highest number we hit in July was about 189, I think was the highest number and we were I think at 246 on Sunday.”

Although the number of hospitalizations is rising higher than it was in July, Resetar said some things are better under control.

“The PPE is one of those variables, the treatment plans exist, the remdesivir, the plasma, the antibodies, have all become additional weapons in the arsenal so to speak,” he said.

As for the post-holiday surge, Resetar said they are bracing to handle it into February.

“We probably had post-Thanksgiving hospitalizations as Christmas really came down on us,” she said. “So we will probably go through January and part of February with really record high hospitalizations because we expect the spread that is going to occur post-Christmas and post-New Years. We probably haven’t seen it all yet.”

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