ONE-ON-ONE: Doctors Care chief medical officer explains COVID strain on healthcare system

LEXINGTON, SC (WOLO) — At Lexington Medical Center, the hospital is at 90 percent capacity. 

Of those hospitalized with COVID and in the ICU, 91 percent are unvaccinated. 

The strain can be felt across the healthcare industry.

“We’ve had increased patient volumes that have overwhelmed some of our centers. In fact, we closed 16 of our 57 centers to consolidate staff and resources to better serve the communities that we’re in,” said Dr. Shelley Janssen, chief medical officer at Doctors Care.

It has meant staff has had to work at locations they are unfamiliar with.

So is the problem a lack of people or space?

“It’s a mix of both,” Janssen said. “We only have a certain number of patient rooms and waiting areas in each Doctors Care center. As well as space, there’s an employee shortage. If we had more providers, we could see more patients. If we had more medical assistants and front desk staff, we could see more patients. It’s both physical supplies, brick and mortar as well as people.”

Doctors Care also has its fair share of COVID patients. It’s why Janssen recommends turning to the online option for care if possible.

“If it’s for something mild, your best bet is using our virtual platform, Doctors Care Anywhere,” she said. “You can call, get an appointment, talk with a medical care provider and get your needs met. Prescriptions are called in for you. You avoid the crowds and the risk of COVID from coming to one of the centers.”

Even with the help of virtual healthcare, staff at Doctors Care are working several hours of overtime a day. She urges patients to have patience when coming to their clinics.

“When you do come to Doctors Care or any healthcare facility, please be kind to the providers and staff that are there. They have been working long hours and putting their lives and their families lives at risk,” Janssen said. “If you are patient and appreciative, it’ll go a long way to making that visit worthwhile. 

She adds that Doctors Care has and will continue to recruit new workers. It hopes to open up more locations as staff increases and covid cases decrease.

South Carolina reported another 35 hundred plus COVID cases to go along with 13 new deaths.

Around 48 percent of Palmetto State residents are fully vaccinated.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, Richland