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Prisma Health professionals beg public to trust them, help stop pandemic

One doctor says he's had multiple patients ask for the vaccine as they are being put on a ventilator.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Prisma Health doctors met Friday to discuss the dire situation the Delta variant has put their hospitals in.

From being near full capacity to a shortage of nurses, and children on ventilators, they are begging the public to help end this by getting vaccinated and doing their part in mitigation. 

“I don’t know how many people I’ve heard in the last two weeks tell me can I get vaccinated now when they’re about to be put on a ventilator," said Dr. Wendell James, chief clinical officer for Prisma Health Upstate. 

James along with three other Prisma Health medical leaders came together to plead with the public to help stop this pandemic.

“South Carolina, unfortunately, is now one of the worst states in the country in cases of COVID-19 per capita," James said. "Today, South Carolina has the most infections per capita of any state or any territory or state." 

James said that this surge is significantly worse than any surge we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Why is this a problem? Because we have more patients coming in faster than we can get them out,” he said.

Dr. Caughman Taylor is a pediatrician and senior medical director for Prisma Health Children's Hospital in Columbia. 

“For us, we’ve had the most children we’ve ever had in our ICUs due to COVID, we’ve had our most admissions, and we have had five weeks of our ICU being at 100% capacity with PICU holds in our ED except for two nights,” Caughman said.

Taylor said they’ve never had anything like this even in the worst of their flu seasons.

“This is serious, it is getting worse, the trends are not improving," Taylor added. "So please, please, please help us out and encourage vaccination to your friends, make sure your children wear masks, do all you’ve heard.”

“The rate of rise for this surge is significantly faster, the numbers are almost where they were with the last high surge that we had and they’re not turning around," James continued. "And we are here today just to reiterate the point to beg the public to trust us with this.”

On Friday, Prisma had its 500th COVID-19 patient admitted.