Upstate emergency care facilities see impacts as COVID-19 cases skyrocket statewide


GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Some upstate health care providers have said they are overwhelmed or overwhelmed by patients, as South Carolina is seeing an increase in COVID-19.

EmergencyMD Advanced Urgent Care, usually closes at 7 p.m. during the week, but one day this week they had to close two hours earlier.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of our future patients. We’re actually closing earlier today, just because of the volume of patients we’ve had in the last two days after the Christmas season, ”said Elizabeth Oglesby, physician assistant at EmergencyMD. “So before Christmas I would say we were still busy. We’ve been busy throughout the winter season, with COVID as well, ”Oglesby said. “But I would say we were probably up about a third of what we were seeing before, what we saw this week with patients,” she said.

Oglesby said they normally see around 50 patients a day, but on Wednesday they saw more than 80 patients.

“So really, people come in with a wide range of symptoms. It can be as simple as a common cold, with a sore throat and some congestion. Or they come in and their oxygen saturation is really low, and they have pneumonia and it’s all from COVID, ”Olgesby said. “Some of our employees got COVID as well, and so they got out and so it’s difficult. We have hired more new people, but it is difficult, with the only increase in the volume of patients, to have enough manpower to bring people in and out quickly as they expect with medical care. ’emergency,’ Olgesby said. “I think our patients at least see that they are waiting a little longer because it takes us longer to reach everyone just because we don’t have that many staff,” she said. “The shared volume we’ve seen this week has been… I don’t think we’ve seen this since I’ve been here.”

State Department of Health officials said this trend was happening statewide.

“The hospitals are handling the load and doing well,” said Dr Edward Simmer, director of DHEC. “It puts a strain on their staff, however, and I am very concerned about our healthcare workers,” Simmer said. “I think what we’re seeing now is emergency departments and emergency care centers are starting to get a bit overwhelmed, are starting to really expand some lines and are making people wait longer than they are. they wouldn’t want to, ”Simmer said.

“We still see, you know, a wide range of what we normally see with emergency care, but I think there’s just an influx of COVID on top of that,” Olgesby said. “We’ve also seen a lot of pneumonia, but some of it develops from a COVID infection,” she said.

Redi Care Urgent Care in Anderson is also seeing an influx of patients.

“Significant influx of patient visits. I would say our numbers doubled before December. Yes, from mid-December to the end of December we doubled the number of patients we see per day, ”said Jaime Bright, nurse practitioner at Redi Care Urgent Care. “We are probably finding that 50% of our sickness visits are COVID positive patients,” she said.

While an owner of Redi Care Urgent Care said they were being criticized, he said it was not just from COVID patients.

“I think one of the reasons we say we’re being criticized isn’t just because of COVID,” said Charles Bright Jr., co-owner of Redi Care Urgent Care. “Now you have people battling with bronchitis and strep throat and the flu and stuff, that they come for. So with the advent of COVID and the increase in COVID numbers, you still see the daily activity that stopped the first time around, ”Bright said.

“Our staff is tight. They’re all full-time employees and they work every day, all day and they don’t take days off, ”Jaime said. “So we have no mercy with them,” she said. “You know, if our employees get sick, we are understaffed. ”

Jaime even had to help the facility while battling the virus from home.

“Our whole household has contracted the virus and we have been at home trying to recover and trying to run the business and help the patients,” Jaime said. “I’m sick at home and trying to do lab results which can come in over the weekend or late at night,” she said.

Now, these medical professionals are asking everyone to do what they can to stay safe.

“I don’t think there’s any need for us to cancel meetings or holiday festivities or things like that, I just think you have to be really careful… that if your nose is burning you sneeze, your nose is stuck. runny, this new variant, these symptoms are very similar to the common cold, “Charles said.” If you are sick, you have symptoms, stay home. “

“I would say, definitely be careful. If people have little symptoms, sore throats, congestion, I would say be careful, not just for yourself but for others around you, ”Olgesby said. “I would say definitely wear a mask everywhere, everywhere. I would also suggest getting the shot if you can. Wash your hands, just doing normal things you would do to prevent the flu, ”she said. “I would say COVID is definitely real. We saw. We have admitted people to the hospital because of it. It’s definitely still there, ”said Olgesby.


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