DHEC recognizes the American Hospital Association’s annual National Hospital Week by celebrating our hospitals and the professionals that work in them. South Carolina currently has 105 licensed hospitals staffed with nurses, doctors, practitioners and a variety of staff members that provide medical care, services, and compassion to patients.
As hospitals continue to respond to the COVID-19 state of emergency, its skilled staff and factions of healthcare professionals are working diligently to prevent the spread of the virus while simultaneously treating up to the most severe COVID-19 patients.
“This pandemic is unprecedented and beyond what anyone could have imagined,“ said Charlene Bell, Interim Director of the Hospital Division in Healthcare Quality. “The way that hospitals from even the most rural regions of the state have promptly and pre-emptively communicated with local health departments and DHEC since the start of the outbreak in order to make sure that they have sufficient hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), supplies, adequate staff, and infection control measures in place is outstanding.“
DHEC is also working closely with hospitals to contain and screen COVID-19 by creating alternate care sites (ACS), which include the following:
- COVID-19 specimen collection sites
- Mobile and popup testing clinics
- Extension of a hospital’s emergency department (e.g., triage and screening tents)
- COVID-19 isolation sites
- Limited COVID-19 medical care isolation sites
- Low-acuity alternate care sites
“DHEC is working with hospitals in inspecting and opening up construction spaces so select ACS can be approved,” Charlene said. “The ACS are very important because they relieve hospitals from having too many patients in a common area at a time with a mix of COVID-19 positive and negative patients, and now COVID-19 patients can be allocated to the proper areas of the hospital without having to pass through unnecessary channels.Hospitals can separate these individuals and test, screen, and care for them in a far more timely and efficient matter.”
DHEC has currently approved 51 alternate care sites. The agency is also carefully monitoring the intensive care units of all hospitals daily.
“Frontline healthcare workers in South Carolina’s hospitals are the true heroes of COVID-19,” said Thornton Kirby, President and CEO of the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA).
The SCHA has is thanking healthcare workers throughout the state by deploying a “Healthcare Heroes Truck” to visit hospitals and share messages of appreciation.
DHEC thanks hospitals and the hundreds of staff at each facility for their sacrifices, skills, and life-saving work. COVID-19 has infiltrated every hospital and healthcare system in the state, and our hospitals continue to prove how incredibly efficient and compassionate they are by prioritizing every patient who enters their doors and positively affecting more lives than we can ever know.
DHEC’s mission to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians by protecting and promoting the health of the public is evident in our hospitals and the healthcare professionals who dedicate themselves to the most vulnerable in our communities.
The agency’s partnership with SCHA and celebrating National Hospital Week is a way we Promote Teamwork as well as Leadership and Collaboration.