Physicians worry holidays could increase COVID cases, burden on hospitals

VIDEO: Physicians worry holidays could increase COVID cases, burden on hospitals

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some Lowcountry doctors are growing more concerned about rising COVID case numbers across the state and what that could mean for hospital capacities.

Officials with Roper St. Francis say their capacity is holding steady for now, but some physicians worry that holiday celebrations in the next few weeks could increase cases further.

They are urging community members to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, and avoid large gatherings even with friends and family for the holidays.

If not, it could be hospitals that bear the greatest burden as more cases could strain their capabilities to care for COVID patients and others who need medical care.

“Unfortunately, what’s been demonstrated with holiday we’ve had so far since the start of the pandemic is that cases surge because people let their guard down. They want things to be like they use to be. They don’t want to wear masks. They want to gather together,” Dr. Melissa Ellis-Yarian said.

“If people continue to make those choices we are going to see a rise in cases," she said. "As far as the hospital system goes and the clinics, we’re just going to keep doing our best to take care of everybody but supplies and manpower are finite. As a community we really need to appreciate that an don’t overwhelm our hospital systems and our resources by driving infection rates up during the holiday season.”

Officials with Roper say they hope the community heeds these warnings from physicians now.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.