How Hurricane Joaquin flooding is affecting SC hospitals: 5 things to know

At least seven people have died in weather-related accidents as Hurricane Joaquin continues to inundate the Carolinas with rain. The increasing severity of the storm has led to historic flooding and the closing of major highways, creating significant challenges for hospitals.

Daily life has been upended in South Carolina, with much of the severe flooding occurring in the Columbia area. President Barack Obama on Sunday declared the state in a state of emergency, while Gov. Nikki Haley urged people to stay home though Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The National Weather Service said the "threat for widespread, catastrophic flooding" and gusty winds would continue across regions in the southeast through the weekend, according to the report. As of Monday morning, many cars and trucks were still submerged in the middle of streets, or pushed by torrents of flood water into the woods or deep-standing water.

The University of South Carolina, College of Charleston and 19 local school systems have all canceled classes Monday because of the heavy rain and flooding. The S.C. Emergency Management Division on Sunday reported more than 200 "swift water" rescues since Saturday night. The need for hospitals in surrounding areas is great, but the flooding has created major obstacles in both access to roads as well as damaging facilities.

Here are five updates on the state of hospitals in South Carolina.

1. Hospitals in the area are relying on shuttled water to continue running. The Columbia Fire Department is delivering water to three local hospitals in an attempt to keep the cooling systems running and delay possible evacuations, according to a report. Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Richland and Providence Hospitals have received water from the fire department. The CFD pumped as much as 70,000 gallons of water into Baptist in two hours.

"We will continue to shuttle water as long as we can sustain it," said Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins. The water the fire department is delivering is not for drinking.

2. The City of Columbia announced Sunday that all water service customers would possibly be without water services for three to four days. City officials also said they are working on repairing numerous water main breaks, according to

3. Two hospitals — Palmetto Health Baptist and Palmetto Health Richland — are under Columbia's boil water advisory due to massive flooding in the area. They are also having issues with water pressure, according to a WLTX report.

4. No hospitals in Columbia have been evacuated yet, as of 8:05 Monday morning. However, Palmetto Health Park Ridge, Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Richland, Providence Hospitals, and Dorn VA Medical Center may choose to evacuate, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. Additionally, hospitals are postponing elective procedures and staff members who are not performing direct patient care are working from home, the South Carolina Hospital Association said.

5. Hundreds of roads in Columbia and the Midlands are impassable or severely damaged. State officials are warning everyone to stay off of the roads unless required for work or for an emergency, according to WLTX. In Columbia, Mayor Steve Benjamin implemented a mandatory citywide curfew from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday. 


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