Upstate health systems say they are prepared to handle more Covid-19 patients

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Health experts are urging people in South Carolina to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing, and wear masks in public because even though most of the economy is back open, the virus is spreading now as much as ever.

In the Upstate, the Department of Health and Enviornmental Control reports Greenville County has about 2,300 confirmed cases of Covid-19, but in reality, nearly 17,000 people could be sick, according to the department.

The percentage of tests that come back positive are also rising.

“That tells you that we’re looking at more people in the population who are sick and also perhaps we need to expand testing so that we get that number to go down as an indicator of adequacy of testing,” said S.C. state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell.

But even as more people are diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, hospitalizations haven’t exploded. Jean Tillirson, who is the manager of patient safety at AnMed Health, told 7News they have between four and eight coroanvirus patients in hospital beds on any given day and it’s been like that for the past few weeks.

“The number of admissions that we’ve had to AnMed Health has remained rather stable,” Tillirson said.

“That could be happening because more people with mild or no symptoms are getting tested,” Dr. Bell said. “I think there’s also more awareness of the fact that there can be asymptomatic positives, so there are people who are seeking testing who have no symptoms at all.”

Tillirson said of 264 hospital beds available at AnMed Health, 215 were occupied as of Wednesday morning, putting the hospital at over 80 percent capacity when it comes to bed space. They are also admitting patients for elective surgeries and have “surge beds” standing by should the need arise.

“We have made preparations to open those units as needed to care for any additional patients that may present,” Tillirson said.

Prisma Health reports its caring for more coronavirus patients than ever, with 119 hospitalized systemwide.

In a statement, the health system’s leader on the coronavirus says, that despite the increase in in Covid-patients being treated during the past several days, “rest assured we are well-prepared and equipped to care for Covid-19 patients and also have plenty of inpatient capacity.”

DHEC reported 73 percent of South Carolina’s hospital beds were occupied as of Wednesday morning.

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