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COVID-19 Update: Changes at some hospitals due to surge

Thursday, September 9, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C.—In response to a now record-breaking surge of COVID-19 hospital admissions throughout our healthcare system, Prisma Health will temporarily postpone elective inpatient surgeries at Greenville Memorial Hospital on Thursday and Friday while we manage our need for additional beds.

As of Wednesday, elective surgeries were also paused at Prisma Health community hospitals in the Upstate. The pause on elective surgeries at community hospitals will run through at least Friday, Sept. 17. Those hospitals, which include Baptist Easley Hospital, Greer Memorial Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Laurens County Memorial Hospital and Oconee Memorial Hospital, will continue to perform emergent and urgent surgeries on a case-by-case basis. Patewood Hospital will continue to operate normally for now. Outpatient surgeries at Prisma Health’s ambulatory surgery centers are not impacted at this time.

Physician offices will follow up with any impacted patients.

This step is being taken to free up team members to help provide additional patient care during the current COVID-19 inpatient surge. Prisma Health’s rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday surpassed the record set during an earlier wave in January 2021. Systemwide on Tuesday, Prisma Health had 568 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as compared to the earlier peak of 546 patients. As of Wednesday, Sept. 8, the COVID-19 patient census is 566. Currently, 382 patients are hospitalized with COVID in the Upstate and 184 in the Midlands. More than 90 percent of those patients are unvaccinated.

“Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 patients in our facilities continues to go up at an alarming rate – despite the wide availability of vaccines in our area,” said Wendell James, MD, chief clinical officer for Prisma Health in the Upstate. “We are actively working to ensure that patients who need care receive the care they need when they need it. But given the COVID-19 public health crisis, we must take additional steps to ensure we can manage the projected surge in COVID-19 patients to our hospitals. Given the recent Labor Day celebrations – and now as we go into fall football season – we are deeply concerned that the public is still not taking this pandemic seriously. The COVID Delta variant is much more contagious than the COVID we saw during the first several months of the pandemic. Vaccination is critical to reduce this flood of new cases. We recommend everyone to vaccinate and follow precautions like social distancing, masking and hand washing.”

Midlands hospitals have been deferring select cases when inpatient volumes require additional bed capacity for the last two weeks. The situation will continue to be monitored on a daily basis. These decisions continue to be made in consultation with the treating physician team.

Said James, “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we must take these additional steps to care for this large number of extremely sick patients.”

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 acute care and specialty hospitals, 2,947 beds, approximately 300 outpatient sites, and nearly 5,000 employed and clinically integrated network physicians and providers, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit PrismaHealth.org.

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