COVID-19: MUSC Presidential Update - May 1, 2020

Dear MUSC family,

As we move into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis, I want to touch base with you concerning important collaborations and updates and our organization’s emerging role in the ongoing revitalization of our local and statewide communities.

Given the reopening of some initial aspects of our local and statewide economies, it’s important that you understand MUSC’s presence and voice in helping businesses, communities, governments and others have an informed, safe and smart blueprint to move forward. Our imperative: We must safely transition from “isolate and quarantine” to “monitor and respond” as our next step. I will continue to beat this drum: Monitoring for the virus throughout our communities and then responding appropriately to mitigate new infections are the keys to transitioning to a more normal way of life –for everyone. Our mantra: Together we must be able to keep the incidence of new infections low and maintain our health systems’ capability to care for our community. Every local leader, business and individual has a role to play.

So, what are we working on right now? I want to highlight what we’ve been doing with the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and a partnership they have called One Region. Under the auspices of this partnership, MUSC is working closely with leaders from Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties to establish a consistent blueprint for employers and residents that inspires confidence as we safely reopen our local economy.

The strategy, named re|IGNITE, leverages expertise from business, health care, nonprofit and government sectors to create a coordinated evidence-based plan to restore the local economy. MUSC is participating as part of our leadership role to protect public health and ensure that reopening does not set back progress made from current social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders.

Please take a look at this brief video announcement about this forward-thinking effort to get an idea of what we are aiming to achieve.

These individuals have a firm understanding that our hospital systems need to maintain the capacity to take care of our community and respond appropriately as a community to mitigate any future COVID-19 hot spots. It is a delicate balance to “keep the genie in the bottle” as we strive to move the economy forward, but we must do so to regain the confidence and momentum needed to succeed.

MUSC is providing expertise and guidance for monitoring, testing and tracing efforts as part of this work and maintaining alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and accelerateSC, the Governor’s task force established to revitalize the state’s economy safely.

Speaking of accelerateSC, you may have seen some recent news coverage related to our Protection Subcommittee meeting held on Tuesday of this week. The Governor’s office has launched a very helpful website where anyone can learn more about the subcommittee’s work related to citizen information, governance, protection and response and access helpful resources for the statewide community. This recently launched one-stop-shop is continually updated and will soon include social media engagement opportunities, online inquiry forms and access to a call center. For more specific information about MUSC’s involvement with the Protection Subcommittee, please visit

As you can see, MUSC continues to push hard to develop the appropriate capability to monitor and respond to potential changes in community prevalence of the virus around the state. Likewise, MUSC and MUSC Health leaders continue to finalize and implement our coordinated enterprisewide efforts to create our own new normal. As part of that process, I have an ask of you. Please, continue to make smart decisions in your work environments, use common sense to make good social distancing decisions for yourself and your team members, continue to work remotely when possible and follow the guidance issued by university and health system leaders as it continues to roll out in real time.

Finally, this time in May provides us the annual opportunity to recognize formally the skilled, tireless and excellent work of our university public servant and state employees, our hospital care team members and our incredible nurses ( for whom congratulations are in order for their recent Magnet redesignation!). It’s your dedication, ingenuity and appreciation for our role as a state institution that enable all of us to give our best to those we serve –and not just during times of community crisis.

On behalf of the board of trustees and our entire MUSC leadership team, we commend you all for your incredible efforts and sacrifices and your commitment to innovation and our MUSC values. We stand on your shoulders, and we thank YOU for enabling us to position and move MUSC forward into the future.

Yours in service,

David J. Cole, M.D., FACS
MUSC president