National Guard aids South Carolina hospital amid virus surge

Coronavirus

Ciera Brown with Roper St. Francis Healthcare prepares a specimen collection kit at the hospital’s North Charleston office Monday, March 16, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. Roper St. Francis Healthcare is providing drive-thru specimen collecting for patients suspected of having COVID-19 or flu who have already been screened by a Virtual Care provider. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The National Guard is sending help to a South Carolina hospital system where a surge in COVID-19 patients is overwhelming emergency departments.

Tidelands Health says it needs the extra hands because both of its hospitals have topped 100% capacity and emergency rooms now serve as holding areas when beds aren’t available.

The state is averaging 5,300 cases per day, nearing January’s record high case numbers. Doctors with Prisma Health are worried upcoming Labor Day gatherings could push more hospitals beyond capacity.

They say schools that aren’t enforcing virus prevention measures and fall football crowds could keep virus spread high.

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