Tag Archives: Lowcountry

DHEC in the News: Opioids, HIV, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

What’s new with the opioid epidemic? You!

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) – It’s a story that keeps making headlines – the opioid addiction problem.

Every few days a news story highlights the growing number of those addicted and the deaths that come as a result.

A doctor at Lexington Medical Center says there is something new in the fight against the opioid problem. It’s you.

Lowcountry AIDS Services tested a record number of HIV positive people in January

A local nonprofit that provides free HIV testing is warning that it tested more people positive for the virus in January than in any other month in its 20-year history.

North Charleston-based Lowcountry AIDS Services says seven people tested positive in the month of January, the largest number in a single month. In contrast, no one tested positive in January 2017.

General Interest

Widespread flu causing large shortage in blood donations in South Carolina

The Blood Connection is appealing for donors because the flu is keeping regular donors at home.

“When donors are unable to keep their scheduled appointments because of the flu, the community blood supply drops,” said Dr. Robert Rainer, medical director at the agency.

DHEC in the News: Flu, DHEC grant aids Bamberg County, sewage

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

MUSC extends visitor restrictions as flu cases continue mounting

Visitor restrictions have been extended at Medical University Hospital through Jan. 29 as the flu continues to ravage the Lowcountry.

Visitors may only visit inpatients and patients in the emergency department and will be restricted to a patient’s immediate family members only, including partners, significant others, spouses, parents, children and caregivers.

DHEC grant funds waste tire recycling upgrades in county

BAMBERG — Bamberg County is utilizing a South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control grant in the amount of $254,250 to improvement its waste tire recycling.

SCDHEC announced the grant in May.

As a result, the county has been able to purchase a new roll-off truck and six 30-yard containers in addition to making Convenience and Recycling site improvements, such as privacy fencing and new carport covers.

General Interest

700,000+ gallons of sewage spilled in Columbia in ’17 — but that’s a big improvement

Nasty, poorly treated sewage remains a threat to Columbia rivers, but city officials and a riverkeeper group are encouraged by data showing the volume of spills was down last year.

For the first time in five years of compiling sewage spill data, the Congaree Riverkeeper says spills dropped below 1 million gallons in 2017. The group reports that utilities, led by the city of Columbia, released 758,000 gallons of untreated wastewater.

DHEC in the News: restricted visitations because of flu, flu impact in the Lowcountry, DHEC grant to aid Murrells Inlet

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Greenville Health System issues visitation restrictions because of widespread flu

Greenville Health System is limiting patient visitation to adults except in special circumstances in an effort to combat the spread of flu and other contagious illnesses.

Those children who are approved will be asked to wear masks to reduce disease transmission because flu and other respiratory illnesses can be contagious for several days before the first symptoms appear.

GHS is also asking anyone with respiratory illnesses to delay visits until they are well.

Severe flu season having widespread impact on Lowcountry

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The flu season has inundated the Lowcountry, and doctors say it’s severe.

The death toll is at fifteen flu-related deaths in South Carolina since this winter’s flu season started.

DHEC said in its weekly Flu Watch that 830 people have been hospitalized for flu-related illness, and fifteen people have died. One of which, the CDC listed as in the Lowcountry.

Group says DHEC grant could help cut down on bacteria in Murrells Inlet

Murrells Inlet, S.C. (WPDE) — A South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) grant is funding a project that could cut down on bacteria in Murrells Inlet, according to a group in Murrells Inlet.

On Wednesday, the Murrells Inlet 2020 group posted to their Facebook page to explain a construction project currently being completed near the bike bridge on Highway 17 Business.

DHEC in the News: Hospital award, recreational shellfish season, opioids

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

GHS wins award for infection prevention

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Three hospitals in the Greenville Health System have been awarded a South Carolina Certified Zero Harm Award by the South Carolina Hospital Association.

The SCHA says the award is given “in recognition of each facility’s excellent work in preventing hospital-acquired infections.”

Recreational shellfish season opening delayed until October 15

The 2017-2018 season for recreational harvest of shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels and other bivalves) in coastal waters of South Carolina will open one-half hour before official sunrise on Sunday, Oct. 15. The recreational shellfish season will remain open through May 15, 2018, unless conditions warrant extending or shortening the season.

The recreational season opening has been delayed for two weeks due to water quality impacts from Hurricane Irma.

General Interest

Mount Pleasant group gathers police, lieutenant governor to discuss how opioid crisis is ‘decimating’ area

MOUNT PLEASANT — The opioid drug epidemic is “decimating” the Lowcountry, a Drug Enforcement Administration officer told a group of about 300 people who met Monday morning to hear leaders address a drug crisis that President Donald Trump recently called a “national emergency.”

Rapid Response

By Jamie Shuster

hep-aStopping the spread of infectious diseases requires a rapid response by public health staff, as well as a willingness to coordinate efforts across geographic divides.

Last week, an alert was issued warning that as many as 5,000 people who visited a restaurant in Springfield, Missouri between May 8 and 16, might have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. People usually become sick within 15 to 50 days of exposure to the virus, so it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent the virus from developing into hepatitis A infection.

Treatment consists of a two-dose vaccine. The first vaccine dose must be given within 14 days of exposure to be effective, which means those at risk need to be reached and treated quickly.

Earlier this week, two people visiting the South Carolina Lowcountry heard the news and realized they had dined at the restaurant in Missouri during the specified dates. They were approaching the end of the 14-day window to get a vaccine and called DHEC for help. Our Lowcountry Public Health immunization team quickly connected them with our epidemiology staff to perform an assessment.

After determining that the individuals should get vaccinated, our Lowcountry immunization team offered to provide the vaccinations during weekend hours, if necessary, to make sure treatment was received quickly. Both individuals received vaccines here in the Lowcountry and were able to carry on their visit with peace of mind.

Thank you to our Lowcountry Immunization and Epi Teams for your quick response and willingness to go the extra mile to help these individuals, who were far from home, access post-exposure hepatitis A treatment.