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Doctors warn Labor Day weekend could lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases

Dr. Shelton and his colleagues are urging people to avoid large social gatherings, like parades...
Dr. Shelton and his colleagues are urging people to avoid large social gatherings, like parades and cookouts this Labor Day weekend.((Source: WIS))
Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Health officials are urging South Carolinians to practice mask wearing and social distancing this Labor Day weekend, saying if we don’t, we could pay the price with rising COVID-19 cases this fall.

Prisma Health doctor Steve Shelton said South Carolina saw two of it’s largest spikes in cases around Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

“We see the COVID-19 numbers are going down, and we would like to see them continue in that direction,” explained Shelton. “Last time we had a significant spike was just after the Fourth of July holiday, and we hope not to repeat that.”

Dr. Shelton and his colleagues are urging people to avoid large social gatherings, like parades and cookouts.

“The potential in those environments, you’re not social distancing and the chance of spreading the virus is very high,” he noted.

Prisma Health has recently seen a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The hospital was caring for 150 patients last week, compared to 100 this week. The healthcare system said it’s also seen a recent decline in the number of people getting tested for the virus.

“We’re not certain why. We’re reaching into it,” said Shelton. “Testing is important specifically to find out who’s positive, and then the next most important step is contact tracing. Who has that individual been exposed to?”

Shelton said Prisma Health is closely watching the situation of rising coronavirus case numbers on the University of South Carolina campus.

“That age group between 20 and 30 is the largest age group within South Carolina that is infected at this point, and that’s a concern,” Shelton explained. “We really need them to be partners with us and step up and follow the recommendations to make sure we can all battle this virus.”

Shelton said his team of doctors are impressed with what UofSC is doing to stop the spread. He added Prisma has the capacity to support the university if needed.

Doctors said they are worried about a trend in people delaying hospital care during the pandemic, and they point out this could lead to long term complications for patients.

“We want to reassure them that we are here for them,” said Shelton. “We are prepared. We are practicing safe precautions to make sure our patients, team members, and everyone is safe coming to the hospital for care.”

Prisma Health is now offering limited hospital visitation, mostly between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Visitors must not be suspected of having COVID-19 and have to meet other necessary safety guidelines.

The healthcare system is also encouraging everyone to get their flu shot this year. South Carolina has already had its first case of the flu, and doctors want to make sure people protect themselves against potentially getting both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

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