GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Tidelands Health will begin taking steps to evacuate patients at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital in advance of Hurricane Florence, according to a press release.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced on Monday a medical evacuation order for health care providers in several coastal counties, including Georgetown County.
That evacuation order took effect at 1 p.m. Monday., the release stated. Tidelands Health had applied for an evacuation waiver, but that request was denied.
Now that the medical evacuation order has been issued, impacted hospitals have 72 hours to complete the evacuation, according to the release. It will be conducted in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Hospital Association. Some Tidelands Health physicians and clinical staff will evacuate with patients to help ensure continuity of care.
It is not yet known where patients will be transported. That decision will be made by state officials and is based on capacity at hospitals outside the impacted area, the release stated.
In the event it would prove more dangerous to evacuate a patient than to shelter in place, Tidelands Health staff would remain at the hospitals to provide care for those patients before, during and after the storm. That determination will be made on a case-by-case basis by the patient's physician.
Effective immediately, both Tidelands Waccamaw and Tidelands Georgetown are closed to new admissions. However, the emergency departments at both hospitals are open and continuing to see patients at this time.
The emergency departments at both hospitals will close to the public approximately three hours before tropical storm-force winds begin to impact the area, according to the release. This closure is anticipated to occur around 5 p.m. Wednesday based on the current storm track.
Tidelands Health outpatient locations and support departments will continue to see patients until a general evacuation order begins at noon Tuesday. Outpatient locations and support departments will close Tuesday at 12 p.m.