Although Self Regional Medical Center has expanded its ICU because the existing unit was full, staff members have also seen the number of admitted COVID-positive patients fall some.
The ICU’s expansion came alongside a decline in Greenwood County’s number of new cases in recent weeks, which seems to correspond with the city’s mask ordinance. Two weeks ago, Self had as many as 55 admitted COVID-positive patients, but on Thursday, that number had dropped to 43, said Director of Marketing and Public Relations Mark Hyatt.
“That’s still higher than we would like for it to be, but it has decreased,” he said. “In spite of that decrease, the acuity level of these patients is quite high. So while county numbers may begin to decrease, many who do test positive have become quite ill and required admission to the hospital.”
Hyatt said the length of stay for COVID-positive patients can vary, as with other medical conditions. Those who require ICU care might have longer stays than patients who aren’t admitted to critical care.
As of Thursday, Self had tested 14,391 people since the pandemic began, with 1,554 testing positive and 554 still waiting on results. Hospital staff have admitted 215 patients since the start, and Hyatt said the hospital has had 20 COVID deaths.
Self serves people from Greenwood, Laurens, Saluda, Abbeville, Edgefield, McCormick and Newberry counties. While Greenwood has seen a decline in new cases, some neighboring counties have not. Laurens County added 20 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, then again on Thursday. DHEC reported Greenwood had 17 new cases Wednesday, then just seven the following day.
New cases include people with varying levels of illness, from those with mild or no symptoms to people who will require critical care at a hospital. Because many require admission, Self’s staff is still urging the community to practice social distancing, wear protective masks and wash hands regularly.