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A look inside MUSC’s COVID-19 units

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 9:49 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - MUSC is sharing a glimpse inside the three COVID-19 units at their main university hospital.

Healthcare workers don PPE—masks and gloves and gowns—before interacting with their contagious patients, many of whom they say are younger and sicker than they have seen before.

“Definitely a large part of the population comes in and they’re okay and then they decline very, very quickly,” Valerie Bolt, a rapid response nurse at MUSC, said. “People that are my age—20′s and early 30′s—that are relatively healthy are getting pretty darn sick.”

Officials with MUSC said they use air filters to purify the air and make it safer. Plastic coverings are zipped up around doors so they can see and hear patients without allowing that air into the hallway.

They told us there are limited treatments they can provide for these very sick patients.

“Most of it is just symptom management,” Bolt said.

The hospital even had to re-open their third COVID unit.

“We [had] too many ICU COVID patients and not enough beds,” said Janet Byrne, MUSC’s Medical Intensive Care Unit Nurse Manager.

MUSC staff said they are feeling the strain of helping patients battle the virus day after day.

“We’re all just tired after last year thinking it was all over and here we are a year and a half or two years later running at the same pace,” Bolt said.

But staff said they are continuing their fight and commitment to helping patients recover.

“Our goal is to get them to rehab and get them stronger,” Byrne said.

They said they are hoping for more success stories, too.

“He’s no longer symptomatic and he has antibodies,” Byrne said of one patient in the unit. “We’re moving him to a non-COVID room and he can have visitors.”

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