© 2021 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
South Carolina News
See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

McMaster Asks Hospitals To Cut Down On Elective Procedures

hospital_bed.jpg
UNSPLASH
South Carolina's governor asked hospitals to cut down on elective procedures, citing staffing shortages stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster asked hospitals Friday to cut down on elective procedures, citing staffing shortages stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the South Carolina Hospital Association, McMaster wrote that a rise in COVID-19 patients, virus testing operations and increased public demand for vaccinations were all contributing factors.

Scaling back the procedures would help increase the speed of vaccine administration and also “help improve the public's confidence and participation in our state's COVID-19 response," McMaster wrote.

The state has received 313,100 doses of the vaccine, according to the state health department. By Friday, it had administered nearly 125,000 of its Pfizer doses, or about 64%. It had only administered 21,421 of the 117,900 Moderna doses allocated to long-term care facilities.

Vaccine sites have been swamped since Wednesday, when South Carolina expanded vaccine access to those ages 70 and older.

Prisma Health, the state's largest health system, said Friday that it had heard from 78,000 people trying to schedule vaccine appointments. That's about ten times more than the 7,800 doses the hospital system says it's expecting to get.

Compared to other states, South Carolina had received the least amount of vaccine doses per 100,000 residents as of mid-day Friday, according to federal data.