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SC hospitals 'stressed,' but still able to receive patients amid pandemic

Prisma Health, Lexington Medical Center and MUSC say they are feeling the effects of the virus, but not having to divert patients to other facilities at this time.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — As cases of the coronavirus rise, hospitals around the country continue to feel the effects with some now having to divert patients to other facilities. 

Despite this, on Tuesday, Prisma Health, Lexington Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) said they are not having to divert patients at this time. 

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A patient may still be transferred to another location within the hospital system, however. Both MUSC and Prisma Health shared that they're doing this when needed to help utilize resources.

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For example, a patient from Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in Sumter may be taken to a Richland County location for care.

"We are operating as one 1,000 bed hospital, so, within that system, each facility has some unique capabilities," Dr. Shelton said. "When a patient arrives with a COVID diagnosis, or any other diagnosis, we may move patients between our four campuses to make sure that we can provide them the best care that we can provide within the Prisma Health system."

According to Dr. Shelton, a diversion usually occurs when a patient is sent outside of a hospital system because the system is unable to meet the need.

"...whether that's due to capacity or capability, or due to not having enough space or enough providers to provide that care," Dr. Shelton said.

Hospital systems can have different measures for when they decide to divert a patient, but the three systems we spoke to say they are not having to divert patients at this time. 

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Dr. Shelton shared more of Prisma Health's response.

"We can continue to take patients. We have the capacity, which means we have space. We have staff that are able to care for the patients that we receive," Dr. Shelton said. "We are stressed. You see the news and recognize we are stressed all across the state as well as throughout the country as far as health care, but Prisma Health, at this point, has the ability to take care of patients."

He added that the community can help reduce the challenges to hospitals by practicing safe measures like mask wearing and social distancing to help curb the spread of the virus. 

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