Sat Oct 23, 2021

CRHS expands critical care and morgue capacities [Free read]

Columbus Regional Healthcare System has again erected a tent in front of the emergency department, but there was no announcement by Thursday of how it would be used. Staff photo by Justin Smith

Columbus Regional Healthcare System had 41 inpatients with COVID-19 Thursday morning, spokesperson Stephanie Miller said. The count was down from a high of 46 on Sunday and Monday. 

Thirteen COVID-19 patients were in critical care, and 12 were requiring mechanical ventilation. The hospital increased its critical care capacity by five beds to accommodate the need.

Miller also confirmed that a refrigerated truck had arrived on site Wednesday to be used as a mobile morgue. 

The hospital’s normal morgue capacity is two, she said, but she was not sure what the truck’s capacity was nor if it had been used by Thursday.

When asked how the public can show support to medical and hospital personnel dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller said that “anything anybody feels led to do would be greatly appreciated.” She mentioned bringing snacks or sending cards to “let them know you care and are thinking about them.” Miller suggested that, “especially our night and weekend crews” need to know people are praying for and supporting them.

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CRHS also expanded testing hours this week, and Miller said numbers of tests were up.

40% of county partially vaccinated

Spokespeople for the Columbus County Health Department did not respond to requests Thursday morning for counts of new cases, quarantines or COVID-19-related deaths since Monday’s report.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services updated its list of COVID-19 outbreaks and clusters Tuesday afternoon. Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehab Center had nine staff cases and three resident cases. Premier Living and Rehab Center had two staff and six resident cases. Shoreland Health Care and Retirement Center had two staff cases and one resident case. Tabor Commons Residential Care had three staff cases and no resident cases. 

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reported no active cases at Columbus Correctional Institution and three active cases at Tabor Correctional Institution on Tuesday.

Approximately 22,128 Columbus Countians — or 40% — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to NCDHHS. Only 35% have received the full vaccine.


Columbus County Schools had 53 new cases and 16 new quarantines between Monday and Thursday, according to a spreadsheet released by spokesman Kelly Jones Thursday. All CCS campuses had at least one case except Tabor City Elementary. Williams Township School had the most new cases with 15 plus five quarantines, followed by South Columbus High with nine and no quarantines, Evergreen Elementary with six and no quarantines and Chadbourn Elementary with five plus six quarantines. 

Whiteville City Schools Superintendent Marc Whichard updated active case and quarantine numbers Thursday morning. He emphasized that not all the cases were new; some had been included in his Aug. 30 report.

Whichard said at Whiteville Primary School there was one positive student, with 28 students still quarantined. At Edgewood Elementary there were two positive students and 21 student protective quarantines. At Central Middle there were nine positive students and 22 students quarantined. At North Whiteville Academy there were three positive students and one student quarantined. At Whiteville High there were four positive students, one positive staff member and 14 students quarantined, Whichard said.

Classical Charter Schools of Whiteville posts COVID-19 case and quarantine numbers on its website each Tuesday.

The school reported Aug. 31 that three people were isolated due to positive tests within the past 10 days. The report did not specify how many were staff or students, nor whether the count included any cases already reported Aug. 24.

Columbus Christian Academy students in grades PreK–5 have been in remote instruction this week due to three COVID-19 cases, Principal Jennifer Noble said. Thursday morning the school reported one new positive test with no new quarantines.

Thomas Academy, the charter school on the Lake Waccamaw campus of Boys and Girls Homes of N.C., will begin its fall semester Tuesday, Sept. 7.


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