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Hospitals continue to ask for medical supplies, track infections among staff

Lexington Medical Center and MUSC Charleston say they are currently adequately equipped with medical supplies.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As coronavirus cases continue to increase in South Carolina, the strain on hospitals across the state will continue to grow.

Wednesday, Lexington Medical Center said they are currently stocked with enough medical supplies to meet demand.

The Center said it is continuing to look for supplies at fair market values to meet the potential increased future demand due to coronavirus.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson said recent donations have helped.

In recent days they received two pallets of N95 respirators, face shields, and gloves from a Harbor Freight Tools Warehouse.

“We are so grateful for their kind gesture as we work to keep our patients, staff and community members safe,” Wilson said about the donation.

The Kraft Heinz plant in Newberry County also donated four pick-up trucks full of personal protective equipment last week, according to Wilson.

“Thank you to Kraft Heinz!” Wilson added in the email.

Lexington Medical Center is just one of the hospitals in the state trying to find more supplies.

DHEC Doctor and State Epidemiologist Linda Bell said it may become more difficult.

“Well there's a serious concern about the availability of personal protective equipment to satisfy the expectations of healthcare workers. And we're continuing to work at all levels, with the federal level, our strategic national stockpile, with the hospital association, and others to supply that demand,” Bell said during a press conference Tuesday.

The state has received two shipments of medical supplies from the national stockpile. However, Lexington Medical Center said it did not receive any supplies from the second shipment.

The state has said repeatedly the supplies are distributed based on population data and medical need.

MUSC Charleston did receive some of the supplies in the second shipment, including 100 N95 masks, 250 face shields, and 160 surgical gowns.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 38 MUSC Charleston employees had tested positive for the virus, however, MUSC says many of the cases resulted from community spread and travel.

RELATED: 34 MUSC workers test positive for COVID-19

DHEC has said repeatedly it is not tracking the number of infected healthcare workers.

RELATED: DHEC not tracking health care worker infections, as lawmakers call for more protective equipment

MUSC Charleston added workers are not able to return to work if they are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms or have not completed relevant testing after high-risk exposure.

The hospital describes its medical equipment supply as ‘Green,’ meaning they have enough to meet demand. The hospital is centralizing distribution of the personal protective equipment, PPE, in conservation efforts.

MUSC Charleston is also asking for donations to its warehouse in North Charleston at 4295 Acro Lane.

RELATED: Coronavirus in South Carolina: Latest updates on the effects of COVID-19

On Friday, Providence Health announced that it is accepting donations of unused and handmade medical and protective supplies and equipment in response to the virus. 

The hospital can accept the following unused medical and protective supplies and equipment:

  • Disposable face masks including surgical masks and earloop masks
  • Respirator masks rated N95 or higher
  • Face shields and goggles designed to protect eyes
  • Disposable gowns such as medical/dental gowns as well as impervious or isolation gowns
  • Disposable non-latex gloves
  • Disposable surgical caps
  • Disposable foot covers
  • Antimicrobial wipes
  • Hand sanitizer

Those with supplies and equipment to donate may contact Peter Ryckebosch at 803-457-2249 or at Peter.Ryckebosch@ProvidenceHospitals.com to arrange delivery.

The Prisma Health network has not responded to WLTX’s requests for similar information.

On Wednesday afternoon, Representative Neal Collins tweeted no Prisma Upstate staff have contracted the virus due to workplace exposure, citing a teleconference call with Prisma and lawmakers.

Prisma Health has not responded to WLTX requests for the same information.

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