Doctors and Greenville leaders urge precautions as second wave of Covid-19 hits

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Greenville County continues to be a coronavirus hot spot. Thursday, Dr. Brannon Traxler, a physician consultant with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, said the county now has more cases and a higher rate of cases than the entire state of Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, or Montana.

Thursday, Greenville Mayor Knox White hosted a press conference with doctors from the area’s major health systems and community leaders.

“This is not a moment to scare people, but it sure is a matter to get people’s attention,” White said.

Record numbers are a stern reminder that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere, especially in Greenville County.

“Yesterday’s 145 reported cases for Greenville County was the highest number of new cases for a day for a county in a day in South Carolina since this pandemic began,” Dr. Traxler said.

White said people aren’t social distancing as they should and admitted he’s guilty, too. But he and as doctors from Prisma Health and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System called on everyone to do better.

“We do need all of you to work together with us to make sure we can manage the volume and control the spread of this illness,” said Dr. Wendall James, who is the chief clinical officer at Prisma Health Upstate.

Dr. James said Prisma Health and Bon Secours have the capacity to treat coronavirus patients as well as the general population now, but that things could get exceptionally difficult to manage if people don’t take precautions to cool the hot spot that Greenville has become.

“We didn’t expect to see everybody go back to business as usual, and what we didn’t expect is the rapidity of the rise that we have seen over the last ten days,” Dr. James said.

Dr. Marcus Blackstone, who is the chief clinical officer with Bon Scours, said the virus is also in younger populations.

“We’ve seen how sick these patients are,” he said. “We’ve got one today we discharge tomorrow from our hospital, who’s been hospitalized for ten weeks.”

The mayor said he is not considering closing down things like indoor dining or parks. Health leaders said everyone can make make a difference by keeping your social distance and wearing a mask.

“It’s not spreading in the hospital,” said Dr. Eris Ossmann, who is an emergency room physician at Prisma Health. “It’s not spreading in a business environment where people are observing social distancing and wearing masks. It’s not spreading in a restaurant where people are observing social distancing and they’re observing other protocols…it’s spreading in close groups. People getting together for a party…very dangerous.”

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