CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Coronavirus cases are quickly taking over hospitals and health facilities. MUSC’s Intensive Care Unit beds are near capacity, 37 percent of in-patients at Roper St. Francis Healthcare are COVID-19 related and at Trident Health nearly a quarter of the ICU beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.
Smaller health care facilities are also seeing a spike.
“Less than a month ago our percentage of positives was around 3 percent,” said Dr. Barron Nason of NasonCare. “Currently, 20 percent of the patients that present to NasonCare for COVID-19 testing are positive and that’s a staggering increase.”
There are two aspects from which we can take comfort. First, all three major health facilities say they can expand the number of ICU beds relatively quickly. Trident is able to triple the amount of beds they have while Roper and MUSC are already bringing more online. The other positive has to do with how certain patients are responding.
“Young adults - 20s and 30s - they’re coming in with cold-like symptoms. Sniffles, light cough, low-grade fevers, and they tend to do quite well,” Nason said.
While many people believe antibodies could mean immunity from a second infection, Dr. Nason has already found anecdotal evidence that may suggest that is not the case.
“I had a patient two days ago – a law enforcement gentleman – who had a positive IGG antibody test and we were very excited about that because we thought, ‘wow he’s got protection, maybe he has immunity’ and then his swab came back positive for active infection,” Nason said. “So he had been exposed to the virus previously, developed the antibodies, and then developed a second infection.”
One of the problems with the antibody test, according to Nason, is that we can detect if the antibodies are there but we can’t determine how many of them there are. Nason says even if you have the antibodies you still need to wear a mask in public, because it may be possible to get infected once again.