Lowcountry clinics adjust to record walk-in COVID-19 possible patients

VIDEO: Lowcountry clinics adjust to record walk-in COVID-19 possible patients

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. - Healthcare systems at nearly every level are having to adapt to the increase in coronavirus cases state-wide.

Local clinics in the Lowcountry are now seeing a surge of walk-ins.

Joel Fletcher, CEO of Premier Medical on James Island, said the clinic saw more than 1,000 patients come through last week alone.

That’s double the number of walk-ins they usually see in an entire month.

“It’s grown about 1000% and it did that over a 10 day period. So you can imagine it going from this level patient volume to this volume overnight really,” Fletcher said. “We care greatly about our patients, we want to take care of them, we want them to feel like they’re taken care of and we do the best job we can. These are extenuating circumstances but we’re really fighting hard to do the best we can.”

Dr. Karey Breen says the clinic sends COVID-19 samples to an outside lab for testing. She is noticing result times could vary from a day to even a week, now that more people are seeking testing.

“They have done a really great job with quality control and getting us the most accurate tests,” Breen said. “We are seeing a backlog and some of those tests, we have tests that are coming back in as quick as one day and then we do have some that are taking six or seven days.”

She says the community surge they’re seeing at the clinic highlights the fast spread of the virus among people who don’t need hospital care.

“What we deal with are the patients out in the community who aren’t critically ill but maybe are having symptoms or maybe are concerned about exposure and want to be tested, or need treatment,” Breen said.

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