CHARLESTON, S.C. (June 14, 2021) – At MUSC Health, the safety of patients, families, care team members, students, faculty and staff remains the number one priority. The MUSC Public Affairs and Media Relations (PAMR) department issues regular COVID-19 updates on Monday of each week. If a federal or state holiday falls on a Monday, then a report will be issued the following day. Please read the report in its entirety; information can change quickly. 

The Path Forward / Recovery

COVID-19 VACCINATION UPDATE

Vaccine Q&A 13

States and employers are getting more creative with vaccine enticements. Dr. Scheurer talks about that as well as other topics in this Q&A.

MUSC Health has vaccine appointments for all eligible individuals age 12 and up. Eligible individuals can visit muschealth.org/get-vaccine to make an appointment; while appointments are encouraged, walk-ins are welcome at all MUSC COVID-19 vaccine clinic locations. View information and a video with directions on how to schedule a vaccination appointment. The community is encouraged to monitor muschealth.org for COVID-19 vaccine availability criteria, updates and FAQs. 

For more information related to public, community vaccination sites operated by MUSC Health throughout the state, please visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov/. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.

Homebound individuals who need in-home COVID-19 vaccination services should contact DHEC’s COVID-19 vaccine information line by calling 1-866-365-8110. Please note that community members should not directly contact the vendors. All calls must be routed through the DHEC COVID-19 vaccine information line to access this program.  

In partnership with the Charleston International Airport, MUSC Health is offering a daily, onsite vaccination clinic for ticketed passengers (inside the secured airport terminal) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MUSC care team members are using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to offer one-shot vaccinations for those traveling to and from Charleston. This is a walk-up site only; no appointments are needed.

MUSC Health vaccination administration data is available upon request. 

MUSC Health COVID-19 Vaccination Expectation for all care team members

All MUSC Health leaders and care team members are now required to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Religious and medical exemptions may apply for some care team members. All new care team members should receive a single dose vaccine prior to starting work or the first dose of a two-dose vaccine prior to starting work. The second dose must be completed within three weeks as a condition of employment. 

As part of the phase 1 rollout of the new policy, 100% of MUSC Health system’s leaders adhered to the new COVID-19 vaccination policy and 97% have received the vaccine (3% of leaders submitted a religious or medical declination). All MUSC Health care team members are expected to receive the vaccine by June 15, unless an individual provides a religious or medical declination. As of June 7, more than 90% of MUSC Health care team members have complied with this policy. 

MUSC Health has established this policy for the following reasons: 

1. The safety of our care team – While the number of COVID-19 cases is going down in most areas, we are dealing with variants across the world as well as people returning in large numbers to normal activities. Since the MUSC Health care team is a microcosm of the community, the likelihood of coming down with COVID-19 rises for all care team members. Vaccination is a very effective means of blunting the spread of variants and COVID-19 in general as public activities resume.

2. The safety of our patients – For similar reasons, as our care team becomes more at risk, patients will become more at risk. For us to optimize patient and care team member safety, we must have higher vaccination rates across MUSC Health. Additionally, we are seeing large numbers of patients NOT coming to health care facilities because of the lower vaccination rates. We must provide an environment where patients feel safe to receive care. Finally, we have been very locked down in the past year. Patients want family members to accompany them more often when they are staying with us. 

3. The safety of our patients’ family and visitors – Once again, as the risk rises for our care team and patients, it puts families and visitors at risk. High vaccination rates combat this risk. We are also looking at establishing a policy that family members and visitors be vaccinated. We are still evaluating this policy and will let you know more about it in the near future. 

FOR UPDATED DATA:

Déjà Vu?

Number of COVID cases is low – just like this time last year. Remember what happened next? We could see something similar, but much smaller.

The MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project is a digital dashboard that provides leading indicators related to the COVID-19 epidemic to enable informed decisions. Current situation assessments for MUSC Health – Charleston (Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties), MUSC Health Florence, and MUSC Health Lancaster divisions are available on this site. 

HELPFUL WEB LINKS FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC: 

General information

General information

Information about testing options

MUSC Virtual Urgent Care

COVID-19 vaccination

MUSC COVID-19 mobile diagnostic testing 

MUSC Health, in partnership with the state legislature, is rotating mobile screening and collection sites in rural and underserved areas throughout the state, for both walk-up and drive-through patients. Prescreening is not required and there is no cost to patients. Patients will be contacted within two days with the results of their test, if not sooner. Patients are asked to bring photo identification and an insurance card if they have one. The CARES Act requires MUSC to bill insurance providers if patients do have insurance. Patients may email drivethruresults@musc.edu if they have questions regarding their results. If they do not have an email address, they may call 843-985-8888.

Sites may close early or operate with reduced hours if weather conditions become unsafe for care team members or if volume exceeds site safety capacity. 

NORTH CHARLESTON: The Charleston International Airport and MUSC Health have collaborated to offer a mobile COVID-19 diagnostic testing site. The site will open on Wednesday, June 16,  Friday, June 18, Wednesday, June 23 and Friday, June 25 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is located on the 4th floor of the airport’s Daily Parking Garage, 5500 International Blvd., North Charleston, S.C. 29418. “Rapid’ nasopharyngeal swab testing is available at this site, with results available via email within 30 minutes of the test. 

Information related to Healthy Me — Healthy SC free, statewide mobile testing sites for each week can be found here.

MUSC Health antibody testing

MUSC Health is offering voluntary COVID-19 serologic testing through musc.care. Results will be available in MyChart within 48-72 hours. Testing is available at select locations in the Charleston, Florence, and Lancaster divisions and by appointment only.  Repeat testing, for those who test negative, will be offered no more than every 30 days for qualified candidates. The cost of the test will be billed to insurance carriers. Based on the recent CARES Act, insured patients will not have an outstanding balance for this test. It is important to make sure individuals and the media understand what the test results mean.

Basic stats / COVID-19 positive cases 

Previously reported data points, such as the total number of  COVID-19 community screening tests completed by MUSC Health- Charleston and the number of positive cases determined via those tests, the number of  telehealth screenings, total number of specimens collected at various mobile sites, or the number of COVID-19 positive MUSC care team members are available upon request. Information related to vaccinations is at the top of this release.

Number of COVID-19 inpatients currently in the hospital (MUSC Health-Charleston): 4

MUSC Health monitors this number to determine that we have current and future capacity in terms of health care providers, supplies, ventilators and PPE. Please see the IHME graph here. These numbers are consistent with the modeling and expectation that MUSC Health will have appropriate resources to manage these patients. 
Of the 4 patients currently in the MUSC Health-Charleston location, 0 are in MUSC Health COVID-19 intensive care, with 0 of the 4 total inpatients currently receiving ventilator care for disease progression.

For specific information about MUSC Health Florence or Marion Medical Centers, please contact Kim Geiger at geigerki@musc.edu. For information about MUSC Health Chester or Lancaster Medical Centers, please contact Ashley Shannon at shannona@musc.edu.

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About MUSC 

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $271 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2020, continuing to lead the state in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $129.9 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2020, for the sixthconsecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3.2 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.


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