BMH tightens policies as COVID surge goes on


 From staff reports 

In developments that go hand in hand, the surge in COVID-19 continues locally and nationwide and Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) is tightening its policies to protect patients, staff, and community members. 

South Carolina reported 2,286 new cases Tuesday, down from the seven-day average of 3,397. That’s a 65 percent increase in the seven-day average over the last two weeks. 

Beaufort County’s numbers are actually worse that those of the state. Beaufort reported 116 new cases on Tuesday, down from 169 on Monday. The seven-day average is 169, up 84 percent over two weeks ago. Beaufort County reported one death, an elderly person, on Tuesday, as well. 

As of Tuesday night, Beaufort Memorial Hospital had 41 COVID-19 patients, including seven of the 10 in the ICU and seven on ventilators. That’s three patients off the hospital’s previous high of 44 on Jan. 8. 

S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, S.C. Department of Health and Environment Control Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics held a press conference Tuesday pushing parents to send their children to school wearing masks. They want lawmakers to revisit the ban.

“I have been very clear. I do believe that issue is best handled by local school boards,” Spearman told the media. “We have two ways to make that happen. Either the Legislature comes back in, … or this ends up in the courts and the courts resolve this,” she said.

As for BMH’s restrictions, effective 8 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 17, here are the new rules:

Visitors will not be permitted in the hospital, except under the following specific circumstances.

Emergency Room: One parent per minor child (younger than 18).

Labor and Delivery: One designated visitor per patient.

Pediatric Unit: One designated visitor per patient.

Acute Inpatient Rehab Unit: One designated visitor per patient for discharge planning.

Patients requiring assistance and end-of-life care will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Online Check-In for the Emergency Center is suspended. Patients who need emergency care should call 9-1-1 or proceed immediately to the nearest ER.

Beaufort Memorial Express Care clinic waiting areas will be closed. Patients visiting the Port Royal and Bluffton Express Care locations will be asked to park, call the clinic phone number and wait to be seen by a provider. No visitors will be allowed into the clinics.

Beaufort Memorial Surgical Pavilion and Outpatient Surgery Center waiting areas will be closed to visitors. Caregivers will be asked to wait in their cars pending notification that the patient is ready to leave.

All hospital and outpatient clinic waiting rooms will be closed to visitors. Caregivers will be asked to wait in their cars pending notification that the patient is ready to leave.

For more information and updates about Beaufort Memorial, COVID-19 testing and vaccine appointments, visit www.beaufortmemorial.org.

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