Columbus Regional Healthcare System spokesperson Stephanie Miller reported that there were 46 COVID-19 patients in the hospital Monday morning, the highest count since the coronavirus pandemic began.
A week ago, on Aug. 23, the hospital had 35 COVID-19 inpatients. Sunday and Monday the count was 46.
“We seem to be hitting records daily,” Miller said. “We’re pretty full, but we keep trying to expand our capacity to meet needs.”
Miller said that CRHS is not using its surge space on the fourth floor, but the emergency department is “very, very busy.”
CRHS announced Saturday that it is not allowing visitors in the emergency department. The lobby of the ED has been converted into patient care areas, Miller said.
“Due to the increasing volume of patients in our Emergency Department, and the need to use all available space for patient care, we have to stop all visitation in the ED,” CRHS said in a statement Saturday. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”
A pediatric patient may have one parent accompany them, Miller said. Hospital staff will decide whether special needs patients may have someone with them on a case-by-case basis, Miller said.
Test times expanded Monday
CRHS issued a news release Monday announcing expanded COVID-19 testing hours effective immediately. Testing is available for all ages Monday–Friday from 7 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Those wanting tests must call 910-642-1570 to make an appointment. The appointment line is open Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–3 p.m.
The testing area is at the front circle drive of the hospital near the flagpoles. Patients arriving at their appointment times will remain in their vehicles and wait for CRHS staff to come to them.
Average time for results of the PCR tests is 12–24 hours, according to the release from CRHS.
In March 2020, before Columbus County identified its first case of the coronavirus, the hospital set up a “triage tent” to use for separating ED patients with COVID-19 symptoms from other ED patients. CRHS never used the tent last year, Miller said. The tent was up again recently but not in use as of Monday morning.