Local hospitals seek to say open after McMaster orders evacuation of medical facilities along coast ahead of Irma


COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation of medical facilities along the state’s coast beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday ahead of Hurricane Irma.

That would include medical facilities in Horry and Georgetown counties, such as hospitals, nursing homes, substance abuse centers and others.

According to a press release, facilities in the following counties and evacuation zones were set to began evacuations Thursday:

  • Beaufort – all zones
  • Charleston – zones A,B,C
  • Dorchester – zones B,D,E,F
  • Berkeley – zones B,G
  • Colleton – zones A,B
  • Jasper – zones A,B
  • Georgetown – zones A,B
  • Horry – zones A,B

As of now, residential evacuations have not been ordered. McMaster indicated that if coastal evacuations across South Carolina do take place, they will happen Saturday at 10 a.m.

Following McMaster’s announcement Thursday afternoon, Tidelands Health released a statement saying they have applied for waivers that would allow Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital to remain open throughout Irma.

At this time Tidelands hospitals and outpatient locations are open and operating normally, according to the statement.

Julie Kopnicky, spokesperson for Grand Strand Medical Center, said hospital officials have applied to the state to shelter in place, to remain open and “continue to care for our community through Hurricane Irma.”

The hospital did the same thing during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, according to Kopnicky.

Julie Rajotte, with Conway Medical Center, said the hospital will not have to evacuate, but will have to show that they have the ability to be self-sustaining for a number of days.

Hurricane Irma is expected to impact South Carolina early next week.

CLARIFICATION: IF evacuations are ordered, they will take place 10 a.m. Sat. Only evacuations ordered as of now are healthcare facilities.

— SCEMD (@SCEMD) September 7, 2017

1/2- As a precaution, all patients in coastal hospitals are being evacuated to hospitals further inland before any full evacuation begins.

— SCEMD (@SCEMD) September 7, 2017

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