MUSC Health tri-weekly COVID-19 report (April 1)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 1, 2020) – At MUSC Health, the safety of patients, families, care team members, students, faculty and staff remains the number one priority. In an effort to provide accurate, relevant and timely COVID-19 information to news media in South Carolina and beyond, the MUSC Public Affairs and Media Relations (PAMR) department issues regular COVID-19 updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. Please read the report in its entirety. 

This information is for the Charleston area only. For information about MUSC Health Florence or Marion Medical Centers, please contact Kim Geiger at For information about MUSC Health Chester or Lancaster Medical Centers, please contact Ashley Shannon at

MUSC Health (confirmed as of 4-1-2020)

Basic stats

Telehealth screenings through Approximately 20,000

Total patients seen at West Ashley specimen collection site: Approximately 4,000

Inpatient pending rule-outs: 22

Total number of completed COVID-19 tests: 4,028

COVID-19 positive cases

Inpatient: 5

Outpatient/community collection site: 174

Health care workforce: 38

The safety of our care team remains of utmost importance to us. It is clear in many cases that our care team members who tested positive for COVID-19 acquired it from community and travel transmission. Our care team members are not allowed to come to work if they are experiencing COVID-19-like respiratory symptoms or if they have not completed the testing process when known to have a high-risk exposure in or outside of work.  Many of our care team members have fared well and recovered quickly.

MUSC Health has a very conservative COVID-19 specific return to work policy for health care workers that goes beyond CDC guidelines to protect our patients, families and other care team members.

We support our team members' rights to privacy and protection of health information and will not confirm or deny names, roles or any other identifying information related to COVID-19-positive cases for our workforce. We have internal notification and tracing protocols in place to contact patients who may have been at high-risk for exposure from a health care provider.

Surge capacity

MUSC Health has begun collaborating with the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard to plan a MASH-style care facility on campus, should it be needed, adding approximately 270 more beds for COVID-19 patients who do not require critical care. All chain of command protocols will be appropriately adhered to at local, state and federal levels.

MUSC Health has plans to use recently vacated, critical care space in the old Children’s Hospital, now known as University Hospital Extension, as well as possible ICU space in Ashley River Tower, for approximately 130 extra beds. We are working with our regional health network hospitals in Florence, Marion, Chester and Lancaster to assess and plan for surge capacity in those parts of the state. We continue to assess other options with area partners and organizations.

Supplies / Equipment 

General status (green, yellow, red): GREEN

We are not out of any items at this time. However, we are centralizing the distribution of certain supplies, such as N95 masks, in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to a surge in COVID-19 patients.

Reducing the overall use of PPE, where safe to do so, is the single most effective strategy for conserving our supply of PPE. These practices are based on the recommendations of the CDC. It is important to note that CDC guidance around PPE use for COVID-19 has been fluid as experts learn more about the virus and its transmission. Hospitals and health systems throughout the state are doing their best to align with that guidance to keep care team members and patients safe while managing supply chain preparation and preservation needs amid uncertainty about exactly how much PPE will ultimately be needed. Given those guiding principles, we are currently asking our care team members to:

  • Work expeditiously to transfer non-COVID-19 patients out of airborne infection isolation rooms.
  • Centralize the supply of all PPE items in a secured area.
  • Clearly identify essential personnel who will be caring for any rule out or confirmed COVID-19 patient and limit entry into the patient room to those essential individuals.
  • Care team members should be using face-fitting N95 respirators while in the same room as a rule-out COVID-19 or lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient for most patient care activities. (There are some exceptions that are considered safe for care team members.)
  • Limit the number of individuals in the room when performing high-risk aerosol generating procedures.
  • Care team members should not wear face-fitting N95 respirators while in hospital common areas that are not related to patient care activity.
  • Care team members are not prohibited from but are strongly discouraged from wearing surgical masks while in common areas of the hospital.

We recognize that our care team members are experiencing anxiety and stress as we move closer to a potential patient surge. Lingering uncertainty around the virus and its prevalence in the community is also a heavy weight for all. In asking our local care team members to do things differently than our normal protocols, some individuals may experience even higher levels of anxiety and stress and we will continue to work with those individuals and extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis.

Ventilators: We monitor ventilator use across our system and are pulling in more capacity in real-time. The exact number continues to be a moving target as we double-check current equipment, receive new equipment and pursue new supply chain pathways in the private industry as well as through state and national assistance efforts. We hope to provide more detail this week as the number stabilizes.

MUSC Health asks that media and the community please take into account that the ability to care for patients who need ventilators involves a number of variables. Our current stock is considered adequate as we prepare for a possible surge in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.  

MUSC Health is encouraging the community to donate the following supplies at the MUSC Warehouse in North Charleston, located at 4295 Arco Lane, in preparation for patient surges related to COVID-19:

N95 masks.

Surgical masks.

Protective eyewear.

Face guards and face shields.

Sterile gloves.

Hand sanitizer.

Industrial cleaning wipes.

Thermometers (all kinds).

Pharmacy needs:




200 proof USP-grade alcohol.

Details are available here:

MUSC In-house COVID-19 testing capability

MUSC Health has increased in-house testing capability, and with further capacity planned, is shifting the majority of incoming COVID-19 testing needs to in-house labs. MUSC Health is no longer sending specimens to DHEC at the present time. MUSC Health’s goal is to meet all testing needs in house. However, the system is still prepared to use private labs as needed. In the coming weeks, most patients accessing screening and specimen collection through should see a significant decrease in wait times for test results. 

MUSC COVID-19 info for repurpose with permission/credit or follow-up story ideas:


About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is 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. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million. For information on academic programs, visit

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 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit

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.