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SC Officials Not Alarmed By Counties With High Percentage Of Occupied Hospital Beds


Numbers out of South Carolina on Monday showed between 80% and 100% of acute care hospital beds were occupied in about a dozen counties, with 88 hospitals reporting.

In York County on Monday, all available acute care beds were “currently occupied,” according to a map posted on the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website. But officials said that number was not as alarming as it seemed.

“Hospitals tend to run fairly near capacity anyway,” said Derrec Becker, a spokesperson for South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division. “We are not seeing any sort of need or requests from either our county emergency managers or the hospitals for direct support to handle additional patients.”

Becker said the emergency management agency has worked with hospitals since March on plans in case there should be a surge of COVID-19 patients. Patients with the disease caused by the new coronavirus accounted for about 9% of occupied hospital beds statewide on Monday, according to DHEC.

Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill is the only state-licensed hospital that provides acute care services in York County, according to a DHEC spokesperson. Hospital spokesperson Daisy Burroughs said in an email on Monday that Piedmont has 288 licensed beds.

“We have capacity, appropriate supplies and the ability to operationalize additional beds within the hospital to increase our capacity, if needed,” Burroughs wrote.

As of Monday about 101 of South Carolina’s COVID-19 patients were using ventilators, according to state numbers.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.