As local hospitalizations reach record levels, Tidelands Health urges community to celebrate the holidays safely

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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on December 22, 2020

As local hospitalizations reach record levels, Tidelands Health urges community to celebrate the holidays safely

Three days before the Christmas holiday, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Tidelands Health has reached an all-time high – a spike likely attributable, at least in part, to Thanksgiving gatherings.

Exterior of Tidelands Waccamaw Community HospitalNow, Tidelands Health officials are encouraging the community to heed the CDC’s advice and limit holiday celebrations to immediate households only.

“The decisions we all make this week and next will determine how much additional strain is put on our community health care resources a few weeks from now,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs. “We can’t change the crisis we’re facing today. But we can prevent it from becoming worse in the coming weeks.

“For your own health, for your family’s health and for the good of our community, please avoid large gatherings and celebrate safely with those in your immediate household.”

Exterior of Tidelands Georgetown Memorial HospitalOn Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Tidelands Health hospitals climbed to a record 62 individuals. Of those, 16 patients are in the ICU and 11 are on a ventilator.

Tidelands Health hospitals are at 108 percent capacity, with the health system’s ICUs at 125 percent capacity. More than one-third of all patients hospitalized at Tidelands Health’s acute-care hospitals today are COVID-19 positive.

To help manage the resource-intensive care of these patients, the health system is temporarily reassigning nurses in non-clinical roles back to the bedside to respond to the surge.

Dr. Harmon said state data show just over 8 percent of patients in South Carolina who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be hospitalized. In Georgetown County, that number is even higher – at 9.9 percent.

“Think of it in these terms,” Dr. Harmon said. “If 10 members of your family are diagnosed with COVID-19, the statistics say one of your loved ones is going to become sick enough to require hospitalization.

“Please don’t take that chance. Celebrate safely this year so that we can all enjoy many more years of wonderful celebrations together.”

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Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 60 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.