CareSouth Carolina COVID-19 Updates

CareSouth Carolina is working to ensure the safety of our communities, our patients and our staff members. We are closely and regularly monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and have been actively taking measures to ensure the safest experience possible.

SC-DHEC announces additional cases, bringing total to 774 (March 29)

SC DHEC announced 234 more cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 774 with 16 deaths.

All South Carolinians are encouraged to stay home and minimize contact with people outside their households to prevent the spread of the disease. Everyone is encouraged to monitor themselves for symptoms, practice social distancing, avoid touching frequently touched items, and regularly wash their hands.

CareSouth Carolina COVID-19 Update (March 27)

March 27, 2020

We wanted to take a moment to update you on the measures CareSouth Carolina is taking to provide safety and to ensure the health and well-being of our patients, staff members and communities during this COVID-19 outbreak.

CareSouth Carolina has diagnosed more COVID-19 patients than any other community healthcare center in the state. We do not know if that should be considered a positive or negative at this point, but it does show the diligence of our staff members and the prevalence of this infection in our state.

All of our healthcare sites continue to remain open. We are not turning away any sick visits. For those who have wellness appointments, we have implemented visits through video conference (telehealth) and we have set up a special team designated just for these appointments. In addition to those visits conducted by our remote team, many doctors, providers and behavioral health counselors are also seeing patients through telehealth measures. We are currently working to utilize non-clinical employees to assist our clinical staff and have redirected our large and diverse school-based teams to better serve our patients during this time, as well.

Our  patients have been appreciative of the measures we have taken to protect them and are taking social distancing seriously, as are we.

The total volume of patients being seen is down dramatically, as we try to arrange only bringing patients in the office if necessary and we are also taking measures to improve staff morale as much as possible.

The safety and health of our patients, staff members and communities remains the highest priority! We will provide timely updates regarding procedures, best practices and strategies moving forward.

We are willing and ready to work with you, as our elected representatives, to stop this disease from spreading.

Working together, we can save countless South Carolinians and do our part to stop the havoc this disease is bringing to our communities.

Caring for Our Caregivers During a Pandemic

Here is a free webinar on “Caring for Caregivers During a Pandemic” that will be held on Tuesday, March 31st at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT. To sign up, click the link below:

Caring for Our Caregivers During a Pandemic Webinar

COVID-19 cases in South Carolina- March 25

SC DHEC is investigating 82 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 424 cases in 39 counties*.

The Importance of Social Distancing (March 25)

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is a public health practice that aims to prevent sick people from coming in close contact with healthy people to reduce opportunities for disease transmission. It can include large-scale measures like canceling group events or closing public spaces, as well as individual decisions such as avoiding crowds.

What is the goal of social distancing?

With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing is to slow down the outbreak and reduce the chance of infection among those high-risk populations. In addition to reducing the amount of infections, social distancing can help to reduce the burden on healthcare systems and workers.

Ultimately, social distancing is a way to “flatten the curve,” which helps maintain the infrastructure of the healthcare system and preserve as many lives as possible.

How do I practice social distancing?

The CDC defines social distancing as it applies to COVID-19 as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately six feet or two meters) from others when possible.”

What else can I do to fight the spread of COVID-19?

In addition to social distancing, the CDC recommends several other precautions including:

  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Staying at home when you’re sick
  • If you are sick and have to go out in public, wear a mask
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

FAQs: Visiting CareSouth Carolina during COVID-19 outbreak (March 25)

For the safety and well-being of our patients and staff members, CareSouth Carolina is implementing several changes to its normal patient experience.

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world, CareSouth Carolina is actively monitoring the situation and putting procedures in place to help combat the spread of the virus.

Here are a few things to know about your patient experience at CareSouth Carolina during this time:

What if I am coming for a sick visit?

If you’re sick, suffering with an injury or even have a condition that isn’t under control- like high blood pressure that is being closely monitored- CareSouth Carolina will continue to see you normally in the office.

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a staff member at the front. Every person entering the office will be screened and have their temperature taken. After that, the staff will determine if you need a mask. If a patient has a fever, CareSouth Carolina will take them into a patient room- rather than waiting in the lobby- to expose the least amount of people as possible.

“At the front doors of our offices, we are having a screening team in place,” CareSouth Carolina CEO Ann Lewis said. “Going through this process could confusing to folks. We need to make our premises as safe as possible, not only for those who are seeking us for their needs, but also for our staff.”

Visitors are limited to the patient and one other “attendant,” who is there in some “assistance capacity” and CareSouth Carolina is asking that people not bring their children with them if at all possible.

“We’re not sure how long this will last, but we need to be active right now,” Lewis said.

What if I have a regular follow-up visit?

CareSouth Carolina is advising patients to call before they come to the office.  For patients who are not sick (those who have wellness or routine follow-up visits), we are offering to re-schedule or to have a telehealth/telecommunication visit with a provider as a way to protect them from being potentially exposed.

“In an alternative for patients who were coming in for wellness visits or routine follow-up, we have implemented telehealth visits,” Lewis said. “We have a whole team who is dedicated to checking in with patients, seeing if there is a need and a way to do a video conference or talk on the phone. We have a good system in place.”

Are the CSC Community Pharmacies still open?

All CSC Community Pharmacies will remain open and providers can call-in medicine for those patients who are in need of prescription refills.

“Rest assured, we’re doing everything that we can to accommodate that,” Lewis said.

CareSouth Carolina operates CSC Community Pharmacies in Hartsville, Bishopville, Latta, Bennettsville, Cheraw, Society and McColl. All of our pharmacies are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

CareSouth Carolina County Agency Updates and Info (March 25)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY

County Offices:

Chesterfield County Government offices will remain open and operational, continuing to provide essential services. However, in an effort to minimize the threat of spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the county is strongly urging the public to handle business with the County online or by phone where possible. The public is asked to call those departments directly for information and coordination. Those contact numbers can be found at: http://www.chesterfieldcountysc.com/_fileUploads/files/Press%20Release.pdf

Chesterfield Town Hall:

Chesterfield Town Council Election for Districts 2, 4, & 6 have been postponed. The date will be announced at a later time.

Cheraw Town Hall:

The Cheraw Town Council and Mayor Andrew R. Ingram decided to suspend, until further notice, all non-essential services and activities in the Town of Cheraw. This suspends immediately all Recreation Department activities such as sports, dance, karate, gymnastics, arts, etc.  This also impacts reserved events at the Cheraw Community Center and the Theatre on the Green.  These facilities will be closed to the public until further notice.

All parks will remain open for individual use only.  No organized activities in Cheraw’s parks are allowed.  Further, Opening Day Ceremony at Arrowhead Park and Cheraw Spring Festival are canceled. The Town will continue to be fully staffed, providing our Citizens the day to day services as usual.

Town Hall will remain open but the doors will be locked.  If you need to make a payment we encourage you to use mail, pay online, or use the dropbox.  Staff will be on site to handle the day to day activities such as new service requests, business licenses, and permits.  Please call Town Hall at 843-537-7283 if you have any questions.

Chambers of Commerce:

The Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce is working on gathering information for a cohesive list of the county businesses & their policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask that you share this information and encourage everyone to shop and eat local when possible. If your business has any information to add, please contact us via Facebook messenger, email your information to chesterfieldscchamber@gmail.com or contact Sarra at 843-910-7369. We will constantly edit this post as changes are needed or we receive new information.

Grocery Stores:

Piggly Wiggly (Chesterfield): Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Walmart Supercenter (Cheraw): Open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day; The Auto Care Center has been closed until further notice.

 

DARLINGTON COUNTY

County Offices:

Darlington County government and facilities will have modified operational procedures and processes. The intent of these changes include: meeting the needs of the citizens and visitors of Darlington County, protecting the health and safety of the citizens and visitors of Darlington County, protecting the health and safety of the employees of Darlington County, and protecting the ability of Darlington County to maintain continuity of government operations and services.

During this modified operational period, Darlington County has setup a public information line to address questions and concerns from citizens about these operation changes. The number is 843-398-4469. It will operate Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Media inquiries should be directed to Molly Odom at (843) 398-4450 ext. 1102.

A list of operational facilities, departments and services can be found at: http://www.darcosc.com/alert_detail.php

Hartsville City Hall:

City Hall will be closed to the public.

Water Bills may be paid: Over the Phone: 843-383-3015; By drop box located in the alcove at City Hall, 100 E. Carolina Avenue, checks or money order only; By Mail: P.O. Drawer 2497, Hartsville, SC 29551, checks or money order only; Online at: https://hartsvillesc.csibillpay.com/Account/Login.aspx; Automatic Bank Draft: https://www.hartsvillesc.gov/government/forms/utilities-bank-draft-payment-application/; SPC Credit Union, 204 N. Fifth Street, 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. Customers must have their bill and pay the full amount due with cash or personal check only. Drive thru option is available.

Any additional business with the Finance Department may be taken care of by calling 843.383.3015 or emailing finance@hartsvillesc.gov.

All other services and contact information for Hartsville City Hall can be found at https://www.hartsvillesc.gov/news/city-of-hartsville-announces-modified-operations/.

Society Hill Town Hall

The Town Hall will be closed to the public. For more information, call the public information line at is 843-398-4469.

Chambers of Commerce

The Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce is working to promote curbside pick-up and supporting local business across Darlington County at this time. The chamber is constantly updating its Facebook page.

The Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce is offering updates through its Facebook page and online at http://www.hartsvillechamber.org/news/.

Grocery Stores:

Walmart Supercenter (Hartsville): Open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day; Every Tuesday until April 28, Walmart will host an hour-long shopping event for seniors aged 60 and older from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.; The Auto Care Center has been closed until further notice.

Piggly Wiggly (Hartsville): Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

IGA (Hartsville): Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

IGA Food Center (Hartsville): Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

BI-LO (Hartsville): Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Family Dollar (Society Hill): Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

 

DILLON COUNTY

County Offices:

Until further notice, the Dillon City/County Building is closed to the public. The following offices can be reached by phone or email: Treasure (843-774-1416); Tax Assessor (843-774-1412); Auditor (843-774-1418), Probate Judge (843-774-1423); Veterans Affairs (843-774-1427); Economic Development (843-774-1402), Coroner (843-774-1444).

All payments and submissions can be done online or by phone. All telephone and processing fees are being waived at this time. If this is not possible, citizens can utilize the Drop Box at the Fifth Avenue entrance.

City of Dillon Hall

City Hall will be closed to the public.

Water Bills may be paid over the phone with credit/debit cards only 843-774-0040 ext 1022; By drop box located on the side of City Hall, 401 W. Main Street, checks or money orders only; By Mail: P.O. Drawer 431, Dillon, SC 29536, checks or money orders only; For new service or to discontinue service, contact 843-774-0040 ext 1022.

Local Hospitality payments and Local Accommodations Tax payments mail to PO Drawer 431, Dillon, SC; Any additional business with the Finance Department may be taken care of by calling 843-774-0040 ext 1018.

All other services and contact information for Hartsville City Hall can be found at https://www.cityofdillonsc.us/2020/03/23/city-of-dillon-announces-modified-operations/

Lake View Town Hall

The Lake View Town Hall and Lake View Police Department are closed to the public. Please contact Town Hall by calling 843-759-2861. Payment of fines and bond forfeitures can be made by mailing a cashier’s check or money order to the Lake View Municipal Court, PO Box 824, Lake View, SC 29563 or online at www.lakeviewpmts.com or by calling 1-877-794-1145.

 

Grocery Stores:

Food Lion (Dillon): Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Walmart Supercenter (Dillon): Open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day; The Auto Care Center has been closed until further notice.

KJ Market’s IGA (Dillon): Open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Marvin’s Grocer (Dillon):

IGA (Latta): Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Family Dollar (Latta): Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Dollar General (Latta): Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

 

LEE COUNTY

County Offices:

Lee county has made a number of adjustments to county operations to protect both citizens and employees from potential exposure to the virus and hopefully limit the spread in our community. A number of county departments and offices have suspended services and programs. Some county and state offices have either limited access or stopped entry completely to various government buildings.

The county encourages everyone to call the office or department with which you may have business prior to visiting in person and see what options for taking care of your needs are available instead of visiting in person. The county has established a hotline for questions from the public regarding county services or other information related to this emergency. Please call 803-484-5921 and information will be provided or your question will be taken and a response provided as soon as the answer is determined. The hotline will operate Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm.

Bishopville City Hall:

All City of Bishopville facilities, excluding the Bishopville Police Department, will be closed to public access. City services will continue and city offices will be accessible by telephone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this time, the City of Bishopville would like for all water/sewage/garbage customers to pay their bills by leaving the payments in the dropbox. Th City will continue trash pick-up as usual, other sanitation services will operate on a modified schedule. City Hall may be reached at 803-484-5948. For more information, please visit http://cityofbishopvillesc.com/covid-19.html

Chambers of Commerce:

The Lee County Chamber of Commerce continues to update its website at https://www.leecountychambersc.com/ and can be reached at 803-483-2800.

Grocery Stores:

Food Lion (Bishopville): Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Piggly Wiggly (Bishopville): Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

Family Dollar (Bishopville): Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

 

MARLBORO COUNTY

County Offices:

Marlboro County Government offices, including the Courthouse offices, are currently open. Protective measures have been taken to distance people where possible and additional cleaning procedures have been put in place. The public is encouraged to use online services or call by telephone where possible. The issuing of marriage licenses will be suspended until April 1. This decision will be re-evaluated after that time. Staff will continue to receive documents for filing; however, opening estates with staff’s assistance will be limited.

Public Safety departments (Sheriff, EMS, Detention Center and Fire) have equipment and procedures to deal with the current situation. The leaders of these functions have met and will continue to meet regularly to adjust procedures as recommended or mandated by health officials.

Stay informed: Please monitor this page, Marlboro County Emergency Management Facebook page, HeraldAdvocate.com and FB page for further updates.

Citizens are encouraged to sign-up for CodeRed. This system allows 911 and Emergency Management to send messages to citizens should that be necessary in this situation or any situation like a hurricane.

https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BFB7CC4C6C0A

Bennettsville City Hall:

  • Closed to the public
  • Utility payments can be made online at www.bennettsvillesc.com, over the phone using the automated system by dialing 843.479.9001 and selecting option 1, drop box at city hall located next to the drive thru window, and drive thru window at city hall
  • The city will not suspend or disconnect essential services for non-payment during the State of Emergency, although all customers are strongly encouraged to pay to prevent overwhelming past due balances
  • Business license renewals should be paid by mail, applications for new businesses are available online at www.bennettsvillesc.com, by telephone 843.479.9001 extension 317, or email michelle.hodges@bennettsvillesc.com
  • Human Resource activities will be handled by phone at 843.479.9001 extension 323 or tammy.king@bennettsvillesc.com
  • Planning and Zoning operations will be conducted as usual. Transactions will be handled by phone at 843.479.9001 extension 304 and the complete building permit application process may be conducted online at www.bennettsvillesc.com.

For more information, please visit http://bennettsvillesc.com/.

McColl Town Hall:

The Town Hall will be closed to the public. For more information, visit https://marlborocounty.sc.gov/contact.

Chambers of Commerce:

The Marlboro County Chamber of Commerce regularly updates its Facebook page and can be reached at (843) 535-8184.

Grocery Stores:

Carls IGA (Bennettsville): Open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

Food Lion (Bennettsville): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

Walmart Supercenter (Bennettsville): Open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day; The Auto Center is closed until further notice.

Wylie’s IGA (McColl): Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

South Carolina COVID-19 numbers on March 24

Here’s a look at the COVID-19 numbers for the state of South Carolina, update through March 24.

Managing Our Fears and Anxieties during COVID-19 (March 17)

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is impacting every aspect of our lives. It is a normal human response to develop increased fears, worries and anxieties in times of uncertainty. Anxiety may be related to the fear of getting the virus as well as how the virus will impact us financially and socially. The good news is there are evidenced-based things we can do to improve our emotional well-being:

In an effort to remain physically and emotionally healthy we should all follow the CDC guidance regarding good hygiene habits to reduce the likelihood of spreading or getting an infection.

How do we stay socially connected in a world of social distancing?  Seek support from friends, clergy and neighbors by phone, text, email, video calls and even old-fashioned letter writing. Self-expression in the form of writing out our thoughts and feelings is a very healing form of communication.

It is important to learn to cultivate a sense of calm. Here’s how:

  • If the news is stressing you, reduce your exposure to the news. This is especially important close to bedtime. Disconnect from your electronic devices 30 minutes prior to sleep. To relax yourself for sleep, try reading a book and using prayer and meditation to calm your emotions. It is important to get enough sleep as sleep deprivation can come on quickly and is a leading cause of anxiety. Adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep and children require 10 to 12 hours. It will be challenging, but try to maintain a schedule for children during the time that school is canceled.
  • Speaking of children, their worlds have been turned upside down with school, activities and sports cancellations. They will miss their friends and may even act-out a bit if they feel scared or bored. Answer their questions in honest, developmentally age-appropriate ways, but don’t wait until they ask you questions, children cannot always put thoughts and feelings into words. Talk to your children daily about how they feel, what they think. Reassure them that you will keep them safe and healthy and explain how.
  • Don’t hold your breath! As humans we are still dealing with that primitive “flight or fight response” in times of stress. It is instinctual to hold your breath. Be aware of this and practice slow steady breathing. We can also use progressive muscle relaxation, dance, yoga or stretching, music and reading to create pleasant life experiences for ourselves.  This is a good time to resume a hobby or develop a new one. I for one am finally doing my Tai Chi video I have had for 5 years!
  • Prepare but don’t panic. Avoid impulsive behaviors, such as hoarding or over-buying. It is important to be organized and thoughtful in your response to this pandemic by preparing adequately for your family, which usually means maintaining a 3 to 5 day supply of food, hygiene and other necessities.  Be sure you are prepared with enough prescription medications and vitamins and other over the counter needs.  Read more about pandemic preparedness on the Centers for Disease Control website at cdc.gov
  • Improving your sense of control and ability to cope with life stressors will go a long way towards helping you to accept current circumstances that you cannot change. Shifting your focus to those aspects of your life that you can control — such as changing your definition of a “good day” to match your current reality and problem solving to match the current circumstances. This is what is meant by “mindfulness”.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your health care provider questions. There is no such thing as a “silly question.” Knowledge is power — and knowledge reduces stress, anger and frustration.
  • Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking. However, if you do begin to feel helpless, depressed, experience insomnia or loss of appetite or a stress level that you cannot control, or find that you are over using alcohol or other substances,  do not hesitate to contact your medical or mental health provider or the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This hotline is free and confidential and open 24 hours a day.
  • Last but not least, be kind and caring to one another. Do not place blame. Be patient. I find it helpful to remind myself that everyone around me is going through something I have no idea about. Add to our normal life stressors, the COVID-19 fears and we need each other more than ever.

Liz Kershner, MSW, LISW-CP AP, serves as the Director of Behavioral Health at CareSouth Carolina.

A Message to our Patients, Staff and Communities about COVID-19 (March 17)

For 40 years, CareSouth Carolina has served as a medical home — a place where people experience healing, caring relationships that transform lives and our communities for the better. As growing concerns of the coronavirus (COVID-19) become more prominent, I wanted to assure you we will continue to be just that— a medical home here to serve you.

I wanted to take a moment to inform you that we are actively monitoring the situation and have been taking measures for quite some time to ensure the safest experience possible. I have convened a Task Force and we conference daily.  I will also issue a daily update based on our Task Force discussions and decisions.  This is a rapidly evolving situation and things seem to change daily.

We are in regular communication with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and SCDHEC and other national and state agencies.  We have implemented Work From Home Action Plans for many staff who are not engaged in direct patient care.  We are very mindful of social distancing interventions that have proven to be effective tools for diminishing the spread of COVID-19 and are making decisions to postpone or cancel events and meetings, using virtual communication tools if feasible.  We have also begun to implement screening steps to ensure that our staff is not experiencing symptoms for which they may not be aware.

The safety and health of our patients, staff members and communities we serve continues to be the highest priority and we will provide timely updates regarding procedures, best practices and strategies moving forward.

We are dedicated to better health and the well-being for all of us.  I will stay in touch.  Stay safe.  Keep healthy.

Blessings,

Ann M Lewis, CEO

CareSouth Carolina actively monitoring COVID-19 (March 13)

CareSouth Carolina is actively monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and is taking measures to ensure the safest experience possible for our communities, patients and staff members.

CareSouth Carolina has been in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as SCDHEC, to ensure the best practices are in place for patient care, safety and staff education. The organization has formed a COVID-19 Strategic Team and has posted signs within its facilities to assist in identifying those who may be affected.

“We’ve done our homework,” said Chief Medical Director Dr. Stephen L. Smith. “We are in frequent contact with the CDC and have the best interest of the public in mind. As of right now, the likelihood of you getting this virus are slim compared to the likelihood of you getting the flu.”

Moving forward, people should still take several precautionary measures including:

  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Staying at home when you’re sick
  • If you are sick and have to go out in public, wear a mask
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

All of these are considered the best practices to protect yourself and others from contracting the illness, according to the CDC.

If someone does meet the criteria for concern and has traveled to an area of active concern such as Washington, California or certain foreign countries, SCDHEC will approve, pay for the test, and contact the tested patient later that day with their results. Should it be positive, DHEC will provide complete education for the patient on the next steps.

At this point, CareSouth Carolina hasn’t had a patient who met the criteria to be qualified for testing in any of its 14 medical centers across the Pee Dee region.

“We’re going to continue to monitor the situation,” Dr. Smith said. “There’s no reason to panic and we’ll continue to share information and updates as they are provided through the CDC and DHEC.”