A Third Surge
VACCINATION & VISITATION - 96 new infections in Laurens County Jan. 13.
S.C. Public Health Officials Call on Nurses, Pharmacists, Paramedics—among other qualified people—to Apply for Jobs that Support COVID-19 Vaccination in South Carolina DHEC: “If you are able and willing, your state urgently needs you.”
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced immediate openings of critical positions to support the state’s robust COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and other core public health and environmental services.
Available positions include nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, administrative support and other key personnel across the state.
“This is a crucial time for our state and, like many public health agencies across the nation, we’re seeking qualified individuals to serve alongside our state’s public health officials in South Carolina’s hour of need,” said Nick Davidson, DHEC Senior Deputy for Public Health. “We’re calling on all those who are qualified, willing and able to apply. Your state urgently needs you. Seriously consider becoming a DHEC employee who makes a real difference in the lives of South Carolinians each day.”
DHEC anticipates hiring at least 150 staff who will assist with COVID-19 vaccination clinics. As the vaccine rollout quickly progresses in South Carolina, DHEC will need additional staff and that is why the agency is asking for assistance now.
“Under normal circumstances it can take several months to hire someone in South Carolina state government,” said Marcus Robinson, DHEC Chief Human Resources Officer. “However, these are extraordinary times and we have worked with state and DHEC Human Resources to streamline our hiring process. We expect to hire people within days or weeks rather than months.”
Of the 150 positions available:
-- some are full-time, part-time, and hourly
-- pay varies by the job; currently seeking to fill positions ranging from $13 to $45/hr.
-- many are statewide and some are county- or region-specific
-- some offer greater flexibility than others (e.g., hours, location, etc.).
In addition to hiring staff to support pandemic response, there are a number of other positions available that provide essential health and environmental services across the state.
To support the state’s fight against COVID-19, DHEC staff have worked vigorously to protect the health and safety of all South Carolinians. To date,2,621 DHEC staff have worked 1,201,590 hours as part of the statewide response.
If you have questions about available positions, please contact:
Patrice Witt, Interim Director of Talent Management, email@example.com or 803-898-1169
Kenya Perez, Recruiting Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-898-9095
South Carolinians Aged 70 and Older Can Schedule COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments
COLUMBIA — Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that any South Carolina resident aged 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, can begin scheduling their appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
Based on COVID-19 vaccine data — doses received, administered, and appointments scheduled — South Carolina officials are confident the majority of people in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated have either received their shots or have scheduled appointments to do so. There are currently 146,500 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the state, with 82,266 total doses already administered (a 56 percent utilization rate) plus 94,926 appointments scheduled by Phase 1a individuals to receive their vaccine over the next several weeks.
Additional steps to expedite access to additional South Carolinians will be made based on the use of the vaccine, the number of appointments made, and information on vaccine supply.
“Because we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration in vaccine usage and appointments in the last week, we have decided to speed things up again,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We know that those 70 and older are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID-19. Making sure they have expedited access to the vaccine will help save lives.”
“While COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited in South Carolina, like it is in all states, our providers continue to receive ongoing weekly shipments of vaccine from the federal government,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Director of Public Health. “When evaluating supply versus demand and as the rate of vaccines coming into the state increases compared to the rate of appointments being scheduled, we believe it is appropriate to begin scheduling appointments for additional South Carolinians. Based on current data, the mortality rate from COVID-19 for those 70 and older in South Carolina is approximately 655 deaths per 100,000 individuals. For those under the age of 70, there are approximately 37 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This is a staggering comparison and illustrates why vaccinating this population next is critically important in our mission to save lives.”
More than 67 percent of COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina have been among those 70 and older.
It’s estimated there are roughly 627,800 South Carolinians aged 70 or older in South Carolina, with many already receiving their vaccine through other Phase 1a eligibility.
What to Know
Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident who’s at least 70 years old can schedule their appointment for receiving vaccine
Vaccine can only be administered by appointment – you can’t walk into a health care facility and ask for vaccine
Residents will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at their appointment that confirms their age and, therefore, their eligibility to receive vaccine
Individuals eligible to receive vaccine can schedule an appointment using an online resource or by calling the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 which currently includes several major hospitals, seven DHEC sites, a DHEC mobile clinic, and 12 Doctor’s Cares locations. An additional 50 locations will be added to this list and available to provide vaccine by the beginning of next week.
As long-term care facility residents and staff continue to receive their Moderna vaccine through the federal Long-Term Care program, the state can soon redirect some Moderna vaccine from that program and make it available to others
South Carolina is committed to making the limited supply of COVID-19 available to rural and unserved communities who have residents currently eligible to receive vaccine. This is occurring through:
an increased number of DHEC mobile clinic locations, where DHEC can bring the vaccine to communities without nearby locations offering vaccine
working with the South Carolina Vaccine Advisory Committee, Office of Rural Health, Office of Minority Affairs, South Carolina Hospital Association, South Carolina Medical Association, and other state and local partners to establish vaccine provider locations to rural and underserved communities
continuing to educate and inform rural, minority, and non-White communities about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots separated by 21 days. The Moderna vaccine requires two shots separated by 28 days. You need to receive both shots of the same product; vaccine brands are not interchangeable.
Both shots are needed for complete protection against COVID-19. After receiving both shots, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are 94-95 percent effective in preventing disease.
Individuals will receive a vaccine card after receiving their first shot, reminding them when their second shot is due. Most providers are also issuing second-dose appointment reminders to patients by way of phone calls, emails or text messages.
Getting vaccinated is one of many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Protection from COVID-19 is critically important because for some people, it can cause severe illness or death.
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masks and physical distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.
As the worldwide pandemic and vaccine distribution continue to be quickly evolving situations, South Carolinians are reminded to stay updated by following trusted, verified sources for the latest information. DHEC continues to hold at least twice-weekly updates to state media outlets as part of ongoing efforts to provide the most current information available.
Prisma Health restricts patient visitation across entire system
GREENVILLE — Prisma Health restricted patient visitation effective Saturday, Jan. 9, in the wake of a growing surge of COVID-19 infections across South Carolina.
“We know that being with families is itself a healing therapy and so we wrestled with this decision. But we believe this measure is needed in the wake of the growing post-holiday surge of COVID-19, especially given the growing community spread,” said Dr. Eric Ossmann, an emergency medicine physician who is Prisma Health’s Chief of Preparedness and leads its COVID-19 response system-wide.
Prisma Health manages the Laurens County Hospital.
Broad visitation to patient rooms is paused beginning Saturday. Staff will work closely with patients and families to help keep them connected through virtual visits such as iPads and other devices.
Limited visitation may still occur in some circumstances, such as the following:
-- Pediatric patients, with only one care partner allowed 24-7 except for a one-hour daily transition period in which both parents or legal guardians may be present for physician discussions and joint training.
-- Obstetric patients who are pre-term, in imminent labor, laboring, high-risk and post-partum may have one care partner.
-- Patients undergoing sedating procedures such as colonoscopies may have one care partner.
-- Case-by-case approval is required for visitation for those requiring additional assistance from care partners, such as for patients with dementia.
-- For emergency department care, the ED team will use their discretion in the interest of patient care in the treatment of children, older adults and any patients with special needs.
-- Up to three visitors may be allowed in end-of-life situations.
-- Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are not permitted to have visitation except under special case-by-case approvals.
-- Patients not suspected or not confirmed to have COVID-19 can receive religious service from the clergy of their choice so long as it does not disrupt their care. Patients with COVID-19 may still receive religious services, but the attending doctor should be made aware of the request.
-- In physician offices and ambulatory offices, visitation will be limited to one care partner for obstetric patients and oncology patients except in infusion areas. Pediatric patients are allowed one care partner, except for infants under two months of age who may be accompanied by both parents. One care partner is allowed for adults with special needs. Care partners are not allowed to accompany a patient for laboratory or radiology services unless the patient needs extra help.
-- All visitors will be required to undergo entry-way screening and be masked at all times while in the hospital. Care partners must remain with the patient.
-- Children under 18 years cannot visit except in end-of-life situations.
“Prisma Health looks forward to reopening broader visitation in the future,” said Ossmann. “Since this pandemic likely will be with us into the near future, we ask you for your continued patience as we strive to provide extraordinary care under challenging circumstances. We also ask that everyone use extra vigilance and continue to socially distance, mask and hand wash.”
For more information about COVID-19 and Prisma Health’s continued response, visit PrismaHealth.org/Coronavirus.
About Prisma Health
Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 outpatient sites with nearly 2,000 physicians, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals.