CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The state health department says South Carolina hospitals are using fewer ventilators right now than they were one week ago.
DHEC is surveying medical centers to see how many ventilators they have and how many they are using.
The usage numbers are down for the first time in several weeks. Three weeks ago we reported that there were 1,265 total ventilators at SC hospitals.
222 of them - about 18% - were in use at the time.
At the end of last week, DHEC told us there were 354 ventilators in use, nearly 28% of them.
That was a 10% increase over two weeks. Today, the numbers we received showed a drop.
More hospitals are now participating in the surgery so DHEC says there are at least 1,388 total ventilators in the state.
Hospitals are using fewer of them, 308, which is about 22% total usage.
That's 6% lower than last week.
A ventilator is a machine that act as a patient's lungs to get air in and out after their respiratory system is so strained that they can hardly breathe on their own.
There is a serious shortage of ventilators in some states because of COVID cases, so DHEC here is closely tracking how many hospitals are using in South Carolina.