Bamberg County/Barnwell County, SC (WLTX) - Folks in Barnwell and Bamberg counties will soon no longer live in a medical desert.

Currently, folks in those counties live at least 30 minutes from the nearest hospital located in Orangeburg.

The Regional Medical Center Orangeburg and Calhoun counties (RMC) hosted a groundbreaking Tuesday for the new Bamberg/Barnwell Emergency Medical Center.

“In the United States of America people shouldn’t have to drive 60 miles when something bad happens,” Senator Brad Hutto said.

“Rural hospitals just don’t have the clientele to sustain a full-service hospital by themselves so collectively we can do that,” Senator John Matthews said.

“As a regional hospital we felt compelled to do what we could to help,” Brenda Williams with RMC and GMK Architectural Firm said.

Leaders at the local, state and federal level worked to get the grants to build the hospital.

“Tremendous that’s why I came out today to see if it was actually going to happen” Denmark Resident Chauncer McMillan explained.

“We have so many people in our community that really needs this,” Resident Elizabeth Johnson said.

The emergency care center will include CT scan, X-ray and ultrasound diagnostic imaging, lab and observation services.

It is expected to provide 40-50 permanent jobs.

They hope to have it up and running in a year.