COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina National Guard is moving ahead with its hospital surge plan as it inspects potential temporary makeshift medical facilities across the state.
SCNG Adjutant General Van McMarty said the hospital surge plan is ready to go when needed.
But so far, enough beds are available at critical Tier 3 facilities, which are existing hospitals across the state.
“So, the availability of beds at this point is not an issue. And so we will try to, and our goal will be, to match the availability of both those tier 1 and tier 2 beds to that number of available beds in the hospitals to ensure we have adequate coverage,” McCarty said on videocall.
Under the plan, Tier 1 and 2 facilities, meant for less critical patients and people needing quarantine and isolation, will be converted from existing buildings across the state.
Patients who become critically ill at Tier 1 and 2 facilities would be transferred to Tier 3, which are existing hospitals.
The Guard has inspected 20 facilities so far with 14 approved to serve as medical Tier 1 and 2 centers.
Nearly 300 guard personnel are activated and General McCarty said they're prepared to add more.
“I think we're in good shape right now with the level of support. We have all the resources both from a personnel standpoint that we need to be able to execute a mission. If not, I've got the green light from the Governor and from National Guard Bureau to bring on those personnel to meet those challenges. We can reach out to other federal agencies for additional resources as we need those,” McCarty said.
The Guard, along with MUSC in Charleston, turned a fitness facility near the hospital into a 250-bed medical care center for non-critical COVID-19 patients.
McCarty said they're looking to convert buildings in the Midlands and Upstate into similar facilities within the next 7 to 10 days.
The General said they're also beginning plans with how to deal with hurricane season along with the COVID-19 response. They also are continuing to support the roughly 1,000 men and women still deployed overseas, and their families here in South Carolina.