Lowcountry hospitals implementing new measures to reduce spread of COVID-19

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 6:41 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Hospitals around the Lowcountry are working to respond to all health issues, not just those related to COVID-19.

Trident Medical Center physicians and staff say that they are still open and operating as normal.

“We are open, no question about it. Hospitals do not close," Trident Health CEO Todd Gllati said. "In fact, we see ourselves as a very important element during any type of potential disaster or disaster situation that we should remain open and will. So, our emergency department is open as well as all of our elective surgeries and elective procedures.”

Healthcare officials at Trident Medical Center say they are taking precautions by screening everyone who enters the building for any reason.

Patients and visitors will be asked a three-part series of questions. First, do you have a fever. Second, do you have a cough, shortness of breath and traveled internationally within the last 14 days. Last, have you been exposed to anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.

I a patient or visitor answers yes to any of these questions, they will not be able to enter the hospital and will be directed to a different screening process.

Also around the area, Roper St. Francis says its four hospitals, Emergency Departments, Express Care locations and Roper St. Francis Physicians Partners locations all continue to be open and serve patients.

They have increased supplies, as well as cleaning measures, and say they continue to take appropriate precautions to serve all patients.

MUSC Health announced they will be cutting down the number of entry points at all hospitals. They will also begin implementing tighter visitation policies for all hospitals on the peninsula. They will start these new regulations Tuesday at 8 a.m.

MUSC Health will screen all visitors at tented/covered stations outside the hospitals. Patients and visitors will be asked COVID-19 screening questions before entering any MUSC hospital.

“These front-line employees, particularly in clinics and emergency departments are working incredibly hard to meet all of the normal needs plus all of these new needs as related to COVID-19,” MUSC spokesperson Heather Woolwine said.

Health officials are encouraging people who are experiencing normal health concerns to use urgent care and physicians offices for typical uses and hospitals for normal emergencies.

“Well obviously, if you’re feeling ill, ill enough to go to the doctor in the past, I would say continue that same pattern," Gallati said. "I think you have to be reasonable and realistic. Patients are going to seek medical care during this time and they probably ought to do it at the same frequency that they’ve kind of always done it. Particularly given this sensitive time, we want to rule out any potential issue with corona sooner rather than later.”

If you have any questions before going to a Trident Medical facility, you can call their free Consult-A-Nurse helpline any time of day at 843-797-3463.

Roper St. Francis is encouraging people who are experiencing health concerns, if able, to first visit their free virtual health care website at //rsfh.com/virtualcare and use the promo code COVID19. Here, patients can speak with a physician between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

MUSC Visitors considered high-risk for COVID-19 exposure or infection will be asked not to enter and advised to access musc.care, the MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care platform, for further evaluation.

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