SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — The emergency department at Spartanburg Medical Center is filling up by the day with more and more COVID-19 patients.
After more than 44,000 confirmed cases the county since the pandemic began more than one year ago, Spartanburg hospitals are still overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
A large white triage tent now sits in the driveway of the emergency department at Spartanburg Medical Center.
Hospital officials said as the situation remains unpredictable, the tent is a precautionary measure to stay ready for what could happen next.
“We are very full we have right at 300 COVID-19 patients throughout our healthcare system. To date, we have not had to use this space but its here if we need it,” Lori McMillan, vice president of professional services at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, said.
As of Monday, the hospital reported that nearly 300 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.
According to the report, 62 of those people are in critical condition and fighting for their life in the Intensive Care Unit — while 53 of those hospitalized are using a machine called a ventilator to keep them breathing.
Officials at the medical center said if space becomes very limited, that’s where the tent comes into play.
“If we have increased numbers of people coming to the emergency center our intention is to use this as waiting room space or possibly as triage,” McMillan said.
McMillan said if it’s used as a triage the tent will have the capacity for 8 people but if it’s used as a waiting room it could hold nearly 20 people. She said the tent will mainly be used for patients who can walk and do for themselves, while sicker patients will go immediately into the emergency center.
Hospital officials said before you head to the hospital consult with a doctor.
“The way the community can help is to make sure they have a real need to come to the emergency center before they come. They can check with their local physician and come to this space if they truly have an emergency,” McMillan said.
Of the 62 people the ICU, six of them were fully vaccinated. Health leaders still believe vaccines are the best way to prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms.