Lowcountry hospitals nearing capacity as COVID-19 cases rise

Lowcountry hospitals nearing capacity as COVID-19 cases rise
(Source: WTOC)

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - COVID-19 cases have been rising for the past few weeks once again in the Lowcountry. Now, hospitalizations are moving with it.

“So right now we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations. I think that’s a trend across the state,” said Beaufort Memorial CEO Russel Baxley.

This hospital fears it’s only getting worse.

“Given the percent positive rate in the community we’ve been seeing post holiday we do expect that number to increase.”

Right now Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head has 26 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Beaufort Memorial is in the mid 30′s.

“We remain full at Beaufort Memorial and the nurses and doctors are all working hard. We are not at capacity so to speak but we are right there, we hover at the at capacity mark consistently.”

The hospital says if a hospitalization surge happened today, they would struggle to find space, but say they have field hospitals they can set up and separate sections of the hospitals for patients with COVID-19.

“Like I said, we will make room.”

The surge is expected as the hospitals percentage positive reaches heights they haven’t seen in months.

“Beaufort Memorial specific numbers were at about 30 percent positive rate right now, which is pretty consistent with the county.”

We asked if they thought fewer people were getting tested or spread was that wide. They believe the virus is just that prevalent.

“We are testing more at our ExpressCares in our community testing locations then we have in months. And so we are seeing a surge of people wanting to get tested whether by physician order or just drive up and the percent positive it’s high.”

They say they are not surprised by these trends, but they are disappointed.

“You know, unfortunately, I think we are seeing with experts predicted which is that post holiday search.”

They say if there is a need for more hospitalizations they will make sure they have the room and staff to take care of Beaufort residence.

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