Elective surgeries postponed, canceled, and rescheduled in GA & SC

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GA/SC (WSPA/AP) – Prisma Health system has temporarily paused elective inpatient procedures at several facilities to manage the bed capacity needed for the ongoing COVID-19 surge.

Elective inpatient procedures scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Greenville Memorial Hospital have been postponed.

Wednesday, Prisma Health also paused elective surgeries at their community facilities through Friday, Sept. 17. Those hospitals, which include Baptist Easley Hospital, Greer Memorial Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Laurens County Memorial Hospital and Oconee Memorial Hospital, will continue to perform emergency and urgent surgeries on a case-by-case basis.

Patewood Hospital as well as outpatient procedures at Prisma Health’s ambulatory surgery centers remain on schedule as of Wednesday afternoon.

Physician offices will reach out to affected patients as required.

The system is taking the step to free up team members to provide needed care for the current COVID-19 inpatient surge.

“We’re dealing with a flood of patients that are incredibly ill and they’re taking a significant, they’re putting significant strains on the resources that all of the facilities,” said Chief Clinical Officer for Prisma Health in the Upstate, Dr. Wendell James.

Systemwide on Tuesday, Prisma Health had 568 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as compared to the earlier peak of 546 patients. As of Wednesday, Sept. 8, the COVID-19 patient census is 566. Currently, 382 patients are hospitalized with COVID in the Upstate and 184 in the Midlands. More than 90 percent of those patients are unvaccinated.

“Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 patients in our facilities continues to go up at an alarming rate – despite the wide availability of vaccines in our area,” Dr. James said. “We are actively working to ensure that patients who need care receive the care they need when they need it. But given the COVID-19 public health crisis, we must take additional steps to ensure we can manage the projected surge in COVID-19 patients to our hospitals. Given the recent Labor Day celebrations – and now as we go into fall football season – we are deeply concerned that the public is still not taking this pandemic seriously. The COVID Delta variant is much more contagious than the COVID we saw during the first several months of the pandemic. Vaccination is critical to reducing this flood of new cases. We recommend everyone to vaccinate and follow precautions like social distancing, masking and handwashing.”

Prisma Health’s midlands facilities have been deferring select cases for the past two weeks.

And in Georgia, Atlanta’s public safety net hospital is the latest to temporarily cancel elective surgeries, saying it’s overrun with COVID-19 patients.

Grady Memorial Hospital CEO John Haupert said Wednesday that the hospital was “inundated” with patients over Labor Day even as it officially diverted ambulances.

More than 5,900 people sickened by the respiratory illness are in Georgia hospitals. COVID-19 patient numbers have been hovering around a record 6,000 for more than a week.

Some other Georgia hospitals were already cancelling elective procedures.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson and David Scott are urging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to order elective surgeries postponed in all Georgia hospitals.

The Republican Kemp is refusing.

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