‘We ask you to stand with us’: Local hospital leaders ask for public’s help in battle against COVID-19

‘We ask you to stand with us’: Local hospital leaders ask for public’s help in battle against COVID-19
Leaders from four local hospital systems are appealing to the public to help prevent the spread COVID-19. (Source: WBTV)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Health administrators across the Grand Strand are appealing to the community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Four local health leaders penned an open letter to the public Friday morning:

  • Bret Barr, president and CEO of Conway Medical Center
  • Mark Sims, CEO of Grand Strand Health
  • Monica Vehige, administrator of McLeod Loris Seacoast Hospital
  • Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of Tidelands Health

Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health and president-elect of the American Medical Association, also joined the other health leaders in a virtual media briefing.

“We, the health care systems that proudly serve our communities, stand united in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” the four organizations said in an open letter to the community. “And, as we stand together, we ask you to stand with us.”

In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have increased rapidly in the region, with more than 5,000 new cases diagnosed in Georgetown and Horry counties since July 1, according to information from SCDHEC.

In addition, all of the region’s hospitals are at or near capacity in their emergency departments, intensive care units and inpatient care units, health officials said.

“The thousands of physicians, nurses and health care professionals who have cared for your families in sickness and in health now find ourselves in a fight that we need your help to win,” the letter reads. “Please, for the health and safety of our region, wear a mask. Avoid large gatherings, observe social distancing, and wash your hands. These simple steps, when taken by all of us, will slow the spread of COVID-19.”

According to officials, beginning this weekend, local health organizations will launch united COVID-19 messaging via a number of platforms, including a public service announcement airing on local television stations, educational billboards and appeals via digital and social channels.

You can read the open letter in its entirety below.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.