Coronavirus roundup: Beaufort Memorial has new visitors’ policy

8 mins read

From staff reports

What follows is a roundup of notable happenings related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak since the last print publication of The Island News.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital adjusts visitor policy

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

In addition to travel and symptoms, patient temperatures will be screened at all Beaufort Memorial locations.

Several new measures to protect patients, staff and community members had already been implemented:

Hospital visitor hours end at 5 p.m.

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 & Occupational Health waiting areas will be closed. Patients visiting the Beaufort and Bluffton Express Care locations will be asked to check in at the desk and return to their vehicle to wait to be seen by a provider. No visitors will be allowed into the clinics.

Visitors will not be permitted in the hospital, except under the following specific circumstances: Labor and Delivery – One designated visitor per patient; Pediatric Unit – One designated visitor per patient; Patients requiring assistance and end-of-life care will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

For information and updates about Beaufort Memorial, visit www.beaufortmemorial.org, call 843-522-5560 for recorded updates and access to staff, or email questions to healthupdates@bmhsc.org.

BMH cancels all elective surgeries

Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) has canceled all non-urgent, elective surgeries at its main hospital and outpatient surgery center.

The decision was made to protect patients and staff from unnecessary exposure and risk, while conserving beds, supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to care for patients in the hospital.

McMasters takes action

S.C. Governor Henry McMasters issued some executive orders on Saturday, March 21:

– He asked construction contractors and others in the skilled trade industry to donate whatever personal protective equipment they can spare to healthcare professionals and state agencies in the greatest need, including respirator masks commonly used in construction settings. To make donations, contact Mary Louise Resch of Habitat for Humanity for logistical coordination via email at mlresch@habitatsc.org.

He issued Executive Order 2020-12, which directs the Department of Revenue to waive additional regulations in order to allow restaurants to include sealed containers of beer and wine for curbside pickup or “to-go” orders only. This waiver does not authorize or apply to open containers or delivery services.

He directed the Department of Revenue to conform the state’s income tax deadline to July 15, which is the new federal income tax deadline. Other state taxes will remain delayed until June 1, as previously ordered.

Beaufort County closes all buildings

All Beaufort County buildings will be closed to the public until further notice to protect the health of citizens, visitors, and employees, and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in the community.

Many services by the Assessor, Auditor, Business License, Planning and Zoning, Treasurer, and other County offices are accessible online, by phone, fax, or through the mail. Visit the County website at www.beaufortcountysc.gov and select “Government” for a department listing.

All Convenience Centers remain open according to their regular operating schedules for now. Emergency and public safety services remain available as usual.

Hilton Head Island closes beaches

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s public beaches are closed until further notice. All of the town’s public beach parking areas, to include restrooms and other public facilities, are closed. This condition will remain in effect for a period of 60 days or unless rescinded sooner, based upon appropriate conditions.

Soft Shell Crab Festival canceled

The Old Village Association, keeping the safety and well-being of Port Royal’s visitors, vendors, sponsors and volunteers its top priority, made the decision to cancel the Soft Shell Crab Festival scheduled for April 18.

Those who sent sponsorship or vendor money will be contacted individually about refunds.

Taste of Beaufort

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce canceled the annual Taste of Beaufort festival scheduled for May 1-2 in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

“Under the current circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in compliance with CDC guidelines, we are unable to move forward with plans for this much anticipated event,” the Chamber’s statement read. “The safety and well-being of our guests is of utmost importance, and the uncertainty of our current situation leaves us no choice but to abandon our plans to host the festival.

Croquet fundraiser canceled

AMIkids Beaufort is canceling its annual croquet picnic fundraiser at Brays Island for the first time in 29 years.

The event, held the first weekend of May, typically raises more than $100,000 of much-needed funds for the non-profit residential education and treatment program for boys who made bad choices and ended up in the court system.

Highway 21 Drive-in to open, allow outside food

The Highway 21 Drive-In will show movies beginning Friday, March 27 through Thursday, April 2 (closed Monday, March 30). Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Management asks patrons to arrive early on Friday and Saturday nights.

The drive-in normally does not allow customers to bring in outside food. At this time, they are permitting those visiting the drive in to bring in snacks and encouraging them to patronize a local restaurant that is now offering curbside pick-up or to go meals. This will be a temporary measure until things get back to normal. In order to do this, management will be asking for a $5 donation per car to help with expenses, which will also be temporary.

YMCA closes

The YMCA will be closed through at least Sunday, April 5. The plan is to reopen Monday, April 6 at 7 a.m. Management will evaluate and determine whether conditions allow them to reopen. This information will be distributed via email, on the website, and through social media.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is now offering free online provider visits “24/7 for patients with symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath,” according to a release issued by the hospital on Thursday.

The free video visits are available until further notice to those who qualify, though restrictions may apply. For more information about BMH Care Anywhere visit www.BMHCareAnywhere.org.

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