SC sees nearly 40% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in past three weeks
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s rate of cases and percent positive are both increasing, and it’s already starting to translate to more hospitalizations.
Dept. of Health and Environmental Control Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler said three weeks ago there were 147 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across South Carolina, but as of the second week of July, that number is 205: a 39.4 percent increase in less than a month.
“The vast majority of people getting hospitalized and dying from COVID-19 are those who are not fully vaccinated,” Dr. Traxler said. “I can’t stress enough COVID-19 is now a vaccine-preventable disease.”
For doctors seeing patients come into their hospitals who are seriously ill from COVID-19 is hard to see.
“To hang up the phone and then to immediately while you’re in the room with one patient to get a second one is very concerning because this is how it started before,” said Lexington Medical Center ICU physician Dr. Philip Keith.
A week ago, Dr. Keith was optimistic at the site of COVID-19 wards starting to clear out.
“You were over capacity and then all a sudden nobody had it...I know it sounds corny it almost seemed like a dream,” he said.
But he is afraid he is about to be shaken awake from that dream.
During the start of his overnight shift, Keith saw more COVID-19 patients back to back in less than 24 hours than he has seen in weeks.
“We have seen a case here and there and then today for the first time we’ve seen three people in a very short time,” he said
Dr. Helmut Albrecht at Prisma Health said he has had a similar experience having seen his hospital go from few to no COVID-19 patients to seeing three in a day.
Both doctors said that some people coming in have been fully vaccinated, but the majority are not and that vaccines are still protecting people from all variants of concern.
And they said a spike in cases could be avoided if more people get vaccinated or are cautious and wear a mask and social distance.
“This is a trend that has repeated itself time and again and it seemed like last week even we are probably going to not see that. But literally in the last 24 hours, we started to see something I haven’t seen in weeks or months,” Dr. Keith said.
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