CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Roper St. Francis Healthcare says a second surge in COVID-19 cases could be right around the corner if Lowcountry residents fail to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Recent data shows the highest inpatient census of COVID-19 patients at Roper St. Francis Healthcare was July 14 with 156 patients. While coming in just over half, hospital officials say their current census of COVID-19 patients is 79.
“We are growing more concerned about climbing back to the level of hospitalizations and infections that we saw in the summer,” Roper St. Francis Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Officer Dr. Chris McLain said. “We’re here to care for the community but we need your help in doing your part to stop the virus from spreading. Wear your mask. Practice safe social distancing. Wash your hands. It is within our power to stop this next surge.”
The highest seven-day average of positive daily tests was on July 3 and came in a 26%. McLain says the current seven-day average is 16.1%.
While July was a quick spike and drop McLain says the current trend line is creeping upward more gradually.
When hospitals are filled to capacity with COVID-19 patients, valuable resources such as nurses and personal protective equipment are exhausted, McLain explained.
“We do not want to reach an alarming point where we must pull back on elective surgeries, such as the knee replacement for the person who cannot walk,” McLain said. “These are critical medical procedures that alleviate pain and allow our patients to live normal lives.”
As of Thursday, McLain says 5,139 South Carolinians have died from the lethal virus.
“Do not downplay the statistics,” McLain said. “Consider that if someone you love succumbs to the virus, that represents a 100 percent death rate to you. Together we can protect ourselves and the people we love.”
Roper St. Francis Healthcare says they urge residents to take the following steps this winter:
- Stay six feet or more apart from people outside of your household whenever possible.
- Wear a mask when out in public.
- Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
- Avoid large groups or gatherings when it will be hard to be socially distance.
- If you are going to spend time with others outside of your home, being outdoors is safer than indoors.