CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - On Thursday afternoon, Lowcountry doctors joined with business and education leaders to talk about the severity of COVID-19 in the Lowcountry and the state.
“COVID-19 safety recommendations have been embraced by some and disregarded by many,” Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) President Dr. David Cole said. “Unless we change the rate of infection in our community now, we’ll be enduring a similar crisis like those seen in Miami, Houston, and New York City.”
Staff at MUSC also announced a new COVID-19 warning level alert system which will be used daily to show where we stand as a community.
The Charleston-area is currently at a code orange, which is one step down from the most serious level, code red.
Code orange means the following things are occurring: ongoing high levels or rapid increases in transmission; testing and contact tracing capacity are under stress; hospitals have substantial COVID-19 patients but are still able to care for the volume of patients.
This system is supported by data from the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project and public COVID-19 data sources. Dr. Cole said if we continue the trend we are in, the Lowcountry could be in code red by late July or early August. That could mean hospitals are at or over-capacity and businesses may have to shut down again due to either mandates, or a lack of healthy employees.
“We understand there’s a lot of competing messages out there about COVID-19 and where we stand as a community,” he added. “If you focus only on certain kinds of data, you miss the larger picture and the damage that COVID does not only to individuals, but to economies in the short and long terms.”
He urges everyone to wear a mask and distance themselves from others in public.