‘This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated’, SC doctors update on rise of COVID cases

Coronavirus

UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – Health officials in the Upstate met on Thursday to discuss COVID-19, saying several hospitals are within reach of a dire situation.

Speakers included Dr. Surabhi Gaur, Chief Medical Officer, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System Greenville, Dr. Wendell James, Chief Clinical Officer, Prisma Health in the Upstate, Dr. Matt Logan, Chief Medical Officer, Self Regional Healthcare, Dr. Christopher Lombardozzi, Chief Medical Officer-Quality, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, and Dr. Brad Mock, Chief Medical Officer, AnMed Health.

“Several of the hospitals here today are just in reach of a very dire situation,” Dr. Surabhi Gaur, Chief Medical Officer at Bon Secours St. Francis, said.

“Things could not be worse right now,” Dr. Christopher Lombardozzi, the Chief Medical Officer-Quality at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, said.

Dr. James said the situation is extremely serious and that the rate of rise is worse than before. If it continues this way, we will surpass the peak we saw in January and February.

Doctors agreed they are seeing the unvaccinated getting the most sick.

“We are all at or above capacity, we are implementing surge units, we are opening areas that normally don’t do patient care,” Dr. James said.

436 patients are currently in the hospital at Prisma. 410 have not been vaccinated. The people hospitalized, who were vaccinated, have underlying conditions, he said.

“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Dr. Gaur said. She continued to say the people who are not getting vaccinated are contributing to the crisis.

These vaccines work and they are safe, it’s been proven over millions and millions of doses, according to Dr. Lombardozzi.

Dr. James emphasized the surge is straining systems and there is a shortage of nurses. He reminded that Pfizer is approved for those 12 and older. It won’t be approved for younger people until the 1st of the year.

Dr. Mock added they have more patients than they can accommodate. He advised against coming to the emergency department or urgent care if you just need a COVID test.

“On any given day we’re holding 20 to 30 patients for admission and giving them care in our emergency room which is a less than ideal situation,” Dr. Mock said.

Non-COVID patients are suffering too.

 “We’re holding patients in our emergency department just yesterday we had a patient who was having as heart attack that we did not have a critical care bed for,” Dr. Matt Logan, the Chief Medical Officer at Self Regional Healthcare, said.

They continue to ask that you wear masks and wash your hands because this slow down the spread.

Doctors agree getting vaccinated is the best way to help.

“People often ask if you can get the disease after you get the vaccine than what is the point? The point is you don’t die,” Dr. Gaur said.

“You trust us to deliver your babies, you trust us to do surgeries, you trust us to take care of your children. Trust us now,” Dr. Lombardozzi said.

The full discussion can be watched here.

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