MUSC Presidential Update on Virus Mitigation and Specimen Collection Site

A Letter from MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS - March 13, 2020

Dear MUSC family,

I’ll start by stating the obvious: A lot has been happening this week in South Carolina, nationally and internationally in terms of COVID-19. We continue to monitor and align with the ever-evolving information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) as we prepare for any number of possible scenarios.

With the World Health Organization’s recent declaration that we have reached the criteria for a pandemic, I want to underscore that the decisions we make now and in the next couple of weeks as individuals and a community are important. How we act as a nation, a community and individuals will shape, and hopefully minimize, the impact of this virus.

What does this mean? We have the opportunity and imperative to slow down and reduce the rate of exposure and disease associated with this virus; i.e., “to flatten the curve.” We need to make smart and timely organizational and personal decisions. All of us need to be following the public and MUSC-specific guidance around self-monitoring and isolating in the case of respiratory symptoms. To put it simply, we do not want our community or home to become the next virus hotspot. Our common goal, our mantra, should be to flatten the curve.

An innovative example of MUSC’s efforts to flatten the curve include our public health virus mitigation strategy using telehealth, and as of yesterday, we are now using virtual care in combination with our specimen collection site in West Ashley. An incredible amount of teamwork, innovative thinking and an evidence-based approach set the stage for this to happen. I’m very proud of how our institution is leading the nation in this way, and I’m grateful to everyone who is working so hard across the institution to address issues and plan for possible solutions in the days ahead.

MUSC ( and MUSC Health ( have cross-linked websites that offer important information related to the virus and its impact on our organization, ranging from enterprisewide travel restrictions to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff to the best real-time resources for national, statewide and MUSC-specific health information related to the pandemic. I strongly encourage everyone in our MUSC family to familiarize yourself with these frequently updated resources and direct others to them as appropriate, if you have not already.

By navigating this together, with all of us working to flatten the curve right now, I believe that we can help lessen the potential for devastating impact to our collective communities.

Again, be thoughtful, be intelligent, follow CDC-based guidance around self-monitoring and isolating in the case of respiratory symptoms.

Thank you for all you are doing now and every day as a member of our MUSC family.

Yours in service,
David J. Cole, M.D., FACS
MUSC president