MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Tidelands Health is bringing a respiratory clinic inside its Medical Park at The Market Common location.
The temporary clinic is in addition to two others in Murrells Inlet and Georgetown which opened last week. The goal of these clinics is to keep COVID-19 positive patients with more mild symptoms from filling up hospital emergency rooms, leaving more room for the critically ill.
Jason Self, director of operations at Tidelands Health, said more than 330 people were kept away from emergency rooms in the one week the two clinics have been open so far.
“These patients were very sick and very symptomatic, and had they not been able to go to our respiratory clinic they definitely would have ended up in the emergency room,” Self said.
Tidelands Health said total hospital occupancy is at 111% and 51 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Self said the clinics are keeping those figures lower.
“So our ERs are still pretty full, but the wait times are better as a result of this urgent respiratory clinic,” Self said.
Tidelands Health said it will stick with three temporary clinics for the foreseeable future but will expand at these locations to meet demand.
“Our current plan is to be able to expand the ones we do have open,” Self said. “Murrells Inlet we’re opening it up to having two providers there this week, so they should be able to do twice as much this week as they did last week. I think we’ve developed it that if I need to add a third provider in Murrells Inlet I can.”
Self said the Georgetown location is drive up, and Tidelands added another set of tents in the past week.
At Conway Medical Center (CMC), Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Richardson said there are 48 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Two weeks ago the number was 31. A month ago, there were just 8 patients with COVID-19 at CMC.
“You sort of see these two to four week surges it seems like but each one is different,” Richardson said.
As a result of the spike in cases, CMC is restricting visitations.
Richardson said CMC emergency rooms are packed and wait times for non critical patients are high as a result.
“So I would just urge folks to please be patient with us,” Richardson said. “We’re seeing levels that we’ve never seen before, and yeah there’s a lot of waits and a lot of back up throughout the entire system.”