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Hospitals begin suspension of elective surgeries due to COVID-19 in South Carolina

Hospitals in Conway and Charleston postpone procedures requiring overnight stays because of influx of COVID-19 cases

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As hospitals across South Carolina are seeing a steady increase of patients with COVID-19, some administrators have begun to suspend elective procedures due to the lack of beds.

Roper St. Francis in Charleston is the latest to suspend elective surgeries -- procedures that are not time-sensitive -- in its four facilities, according to reports from The Associated Press.

Beginning Monday, July 13, Conway Medical Center, in Horry County, suspended elective surgeries until July 27. All procedures are being rescheduled, but the suspension could last more than the two weeks if the number of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization remain high.

According to South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control's daily count of COVID-19 cases, on Sunday, July 12, Charleston County reported 282 new confirmed cases of the virus, Horry County reported 213. Richland County had 152.

[Graphic: The image below shows the increase in hospitalizations since June 1.]

Credit: SCDHEC

In the Midlands, WLTX reached out to Lexington Medical Center and Prisma Health Sunday afternoon. Neither hospital system is postponing elective surgeries at this time. 

In a statement, Prisma Health spokeswoman Tammie Epps said, “As a large integrated healthcare delivery system, Prisma Health has capacity across our hospitals in the Upstate and Midlands of South Carolina, including our ICUs. We are managing our healthcare system capacity in real time, constantly re-evaluating our physical bed space, our staffing needs and our patient census to ensure that we are maximally utilizing all the resources of Prisma Health to care for all of our patients, both those with COVID and those with other illness or injury. We continue to open additional beds and cohort patients in specialized units, as well as shifting North Greenville Hospital in the Upstate to a COVID-dedicated hospital. Our Emergency Departments are fully operational and prepared to care for patients who need emergency care.”

RELATED: Prisma Health doctor says COVID-19 patients have doubled in last few weeks

RELATED: South Carolina currently using 75 percent of its hospital beds as COVID-19 cases increase