MUSC Health tri-weekly COVID-19 report (April 17)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 17, 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.  

The Path Forward / Recovery

MUSC recently launched the MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project. This digital resource is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays as needed. This dashboard provides leading indicators related to the COVID-19 epidemic to enable informed decisions. An Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) from the website illustrates the level of the expected impact in South Carolina, with the peak estimated to occur in late April to early May. 

Graph showing COVID-19 projections. 

Current analyses indicate that MUSC Health and health systems throughout South Carolina have the capacity to handle the projected COVID-19 peak in early May. Experts will continue to monitor the data and make adjustments to operations as needed. MUSC’s goal is to deliver health care in a safe and reliable environment, while pushing forward to enable a rapid and successful revitalization of the economy.

The current situation assessment for MUSC Health – Charleston (Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties) is as follows:

MUSC COVID-19 Situation Assessment




Scope of epidemic

Prevalence of infections (cases per 1,000 population)

Stable– GREEN

Scope of epidemic

Identified super spreader events (nursing homes, prisons, cluster outbreaks, etc.)

None Identified– GREEN

Epidemic control

Growth rate of confirmed cases

Stable but still growing– YELLOW

Epidemic control

Growth rate of cases by prevalence of cases

Stable– GREEN

Epidemic control

Social mobility

Slight increase, only moderate

level achieved


Health system capacity

Availability of general hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators

Adequate– GREEN


As the community moves forward to revitalize the economy, the possibility exists that a second group of COVID-19 patients may emerge as a result of relaxed social distancing restrictions, which could reverse or cripple any economic progress. To avoid this and help the statewide community move forward successfully, MUSC is actively engaged with state leadership on these five actions:

1. Staged Economic Revitalization – Developing and deploying a strategic staged revitalization of the economy, prioritizing the highest impact economic drivers that represent the lowest risk of second-round COVID-19 risk. Recognizing the importance of this action on being able to care for all the patients and families that come to MUSC Health for help, a staged recovery within the health system is already in the planning and implementation mode. 

2. Disease testing – Continuing to develop our ability to test those who have symptoms of COVID-19. MUSC is the only health system in the state that has in-house PCR testing capabilities, which the health system is using to resume some urgent OR and other procedures.

3. Immunity testing – Developing and deploying tests for immunity to COVID-19 and certifying those who are recovered and immune to COVID-19. This work is ongoing, and MUSC Health will be sharing more details about these efforts soon.

4. Contact tracing – Having a system in place to identify and trace contacts and quarantining individuals at risk. MUSC is working with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and other partners across the state to move this forward in a more meaningful way for the days ahead.

5. Protecting the vulnerable – Ensuring that the most vulnerable, including the elderly, minority communities and persons with chronic disease and weakened immune systems, remain socially distanced, protected and supported until the epidemic is well-controlled.

MUSC COVID-19 testing capability

Eric Meissner, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases, is the principal investigator for a study starting this week that focuses on MUSC’s very own frontline heath care workers and their immune responses to potential virus exposure. The hope is to enroll up to 440 employees – 340 of whom either work in emergency medicine or at the West Ashley specimen collection site or those who might have provided care to a patient who was infected – and 100 who are not involved in direct patient care. Read more here.

MUSC Health has fully mobilized its in-house testing capability. Available images, b-roll and interviews related to this new testing capability are located here:

Main External Media folder link

Covid-19 Folder 

Testing/Lab Folder: 

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

Cancer Telehealth

For cancer patients like Sara Cutler, Hollings Cancer Center is expanding telehealth services.

Silent Suffering?

Dramatic drop in number of stroke patients worries doctors. Are people too afraid of coronavirus to get help they need?

Potential COVID-19 Drugs

Learn more about headline-making drugs in the fight against COVID-19 in this Q&A with Patrick Woster, Ph.D., a leading expert in drug discovery research.

COVID-19 Tips

Oncologist Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., shares tips for cancer patients and their caregivers to navigate treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Basic stats / COVID-19 positive cases 

In response to ongoing news coverage trends and requests, the PAMR team is streamlining the most sought after data points and offering more context around these numbers. Our aim is to better explain what these numbers mean for the community. Previously reported data points, such as the number of telehealth screenings, total number of specimens collected at the West Ashley specimen collection site, or the number of COVID-19 positive MUSC care team members are still available upon request. 

  • Total number of COVID-19 community screening tests completed by MUSC Health: 7,468 (system-wide: 9,283)
  • Total Number of COVID-19 positive community screening tests: 425 (system-wide: 576)
  • It is important to understand, and to avoid duplication in reporting, that these cases are reported to, and included in, the DHEC statewide COVID-19 numbers.
  • The majority of these individuals may or may not require hospitalization in a South Carolina at some point in time.
  • Number of COVID-19 inpatients currently in the hospital: 5
  • MUSC Health monitors this number to determine that we have current and future capacity in terms of health care providers, supplies, ventilators and PPE. Please see the IHME graph above. These numbers are consistent with the modelling and expectation that MUSC Health will have appropriate resources to manage these patients. 

COVID-19 capacity (Charleston)

General status (green, yellow, red): GREEN 

No change since April 10 report

Supplies / Equipment (Charleston) 

General status (green, yellow, red): GREEN 

No change since April 13 report

MUSC Health is encouraging the community to donate supplies at the MUSC Warehouse in North Charleston, located at 4295 Arco Lane Charleston, SC 29418.

For specific 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


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.