MUSC Health tri-weekly COVID-19 report (April 22)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 22, 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

ICYMI: Physicians at the MUSC Health University Medical Center successfully infused their first COVID-19 patient with convalescent plasma on April 18. The patient is the first person in the Lowcountry and only the second person in South Carolina to receive this investigational therapy, which took place less than 24 hours after the blood product was provided by a compatible donor.

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) chart from the website illustrates the level of the expected impact in South Carolina, and 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.

A current situation assessment for MUSC Health – Charleston (Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties) is also available on this site. Data related to MUSC Health Florence and Lancaster divisions is scheduled for publication on the website later this week. 

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 undermine 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:

Staged 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 infection. 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. 

Diagnostic 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.

Antibody 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.

Contact tracing – Having a confidential system in place to identify and trace contacts and isolating 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.

Protecting vulnerable populations – 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. Maintain actions that lower the risk for these populations. 

MUSC COVID-19 testing

Pathologists at the Medical University of South Carolina will play a key role in the next step toward getting reliable antibody tests out to the public. The Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for a handful of tests so far. That means the FDA’s experts believe the possible benefits of the tests outweigh the risks.

But because the tests were developed quickly in response to the coronavirus pandemic, they’ll get further scrutiny. That’s where the MUSC Health pathology and laboratory medicine team comes in, along with other highly skilled lab experts across the country.

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

Family Connection

IPads that were once used by doctors and nurses for rounding have been revamped so patients can virtually visit with family and friends.

Hydroxychloroquine Trial

MUSC Health will be part of a large, national trial testing effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 Innovation

Diversity and inclusion experts get creative to try to help people who’d otherwise be left out of COVID-19 screening.

Antibody Testing

Researchers are looking to health care workers to help better understand the body's response to exposure of the novel coronavirus.

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-Charleston: 8,662 (MUSC Health system-wide: 10,859)
  • Total Number of COVID-19 positive greater Charleston community screening tests: 464 (MUSC Health system-wide: 677)
    • 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 (MUSC Health-Charleston): 9
    • 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 a current list of supply requests, please visit this page.

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.