By Riley Bean and Danielle Seat | October 7, 2020 at 5:14 AM EDT - Updated October 7 at 7:16 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Flu season has arrived, and Lowcountry hospitals say they are beginning to prepare for a flu season combined with coronavirus.
Roper St. Francis says they have started preparing for flu season amid the coronavirus pandemic by applying for a test that would be a 2-in-1 flu and COVID 19 test.
The equipment for the two in one test is not commercially available yet, but Roper St. Francis says once it is approved through the FDA, patients can get one swab for both viruses.
Hospital officials say these tests will produce results within an hour.
Roper St. Francis says they have fewer than 15 patients in the hospital with COVID 19, and none on a ventilators, but in previous years, hospital beds were an issue for flu patients alone.
Staffing is tight, and Roper says they are looking to add additional employees for this anticipated flu rush.
Although nothing is finalized yet, Dr. Valerie Scott says this will be one of the most important ways to cope with both diseases this flu season.
“There have been many years where we have been to capacity with just the flu,” Scott said. “Where as a primary care doctor I’m trying to get someone else into the hospital for something else and there just aren’t any beds.”
But as for further preparations, Scott says it’s tough to know what we will be up against. Roper is making a big push for everyone to get their flu shots, but Scott also says wearing your masks and washing your hands will help our community through this fall and winter season.
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