Beaufort Memorial CEO discusses record number of COVID cases in S.C.

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 4:43 PM EST
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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTOC) - We’re hearing from the leader of Beaufort Memorial Hospital for the first time after the state reported a record number of COVID cases.

The omicron variant is fueling a surge of cases in South Carolina even higher than delta did, but hospitalizations haven’t followed suit. Because of that, WTOC asked Beaufort Memorial’s CEO if people should be looking at these case numbers differently than before.

“I mean I don’t know that I look at it differently, I just look at it that vaccines are working... obviously I think that’s a positive sign. We have more immunity in the system,” said Russell Baxley, CEO Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

He says this strain of the virus is putting stress on certain parts of the hospital.

“What we’re seeing is a high surge in our outpatient areas... ER, Express Care, our community testing lines but haven’t necessarily seen the same dramatic surge in the hospital with admitted patients.

In fact, inside these halls they have 15 COVID patients right now, with the number of serious cases much lower than that.

“We have not seen many admitted to the ICU, I think currently we have one patient admitted to the ICU.”

With kids in Beaufort County returning to school this week, some are concerned of spread in the younger population. But as many are still enjoying the holiday break, Baxley says other age groups are testing positive more frequently.

“The two largest cohorts or age groups of testing positive for us right now is that 20-29 range and 30-39 range. So we also here in Beaufort have not seen a huge surge of the pediatric population testing positive yet.”

Baxley says it’s also important to note Omicron’s incubation period is three to five days. So if you are exposed, he recommends not getting tested immediately, but instead being cautious for a few days and then getting that test.

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