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Feds chip in $1.14 million to benefit patients, healthcare workers
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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced last week that the state has received approximately $1.14 million in federal funds to strengthen the safety of patients and healthcare workers at healthcare settings.

The funding is part of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative aimed at helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in U.S. healthcare facilities.

The CDC launched the comprehensive infection control program, called Project Firstline, this week. The $180 million program features new training for staff in hospitals, outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities to prevent healthcare-associated infections.

“This will greatly increase our capacity across the state to respond to COVID-19 and other infections in healthcare settings,” said Dr. Abdoulaye Diedhiou, director of DHEC’s Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology.

The supplemental COVID-19 funding received by South Carolina will support infection prevention and control training via Project Firstline that will allow DHEC to get additional infection control capacity across the state to address the growing demand, particularly from long-term care facilities. The program will also help build capacity in healthcare facilities across the state.

Project Firstline will provide frontline healthcare workers the training they need to protect themselves and patients. When patients enter a hospital or other healthcare facility for treatment, the last thing they want – or need – is to pick up a new infection while there.

“We have highly skilled, dedicated infection preventionists at DHEC and at our healthcare facilities who are doing great work, but we need more capacity and expanded training,” Dr. Diedhiou said. “The point is to increase the amount of education, awareness, and expertise necessary to make sure healthcare workers and patients know what to do to prevent infections and keep themselves healthy.”

Project Firstline will bring infection control training to frontline staff South Carolina across all disciplines (nurses, housekeepers, doctors, physical therapists, etc.) and types of healthcare facilities (acute care hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient settings, ambulatory surgery centers, etc).

In addition, Project Firstline, which will reach millions of frontline U.S. healthcare workers, offers short training modules, townhall discussions, and tele-mentoring to provide healthcare workers with the most up-to-date science and reasoning behind today’s infection control practices.

In announcing the new program, the CDC noted that “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed gaps in infection prevention and control knowledge and practice in healthcare settings nationwide.”

The federal agency also said that with the arrival of flu season it is critical that every healthcare worker “has the knowledge and the resources necessary to confidently apply the infection control principles and protocols needed to protect themselves, their facility, and their communities.”

On Friday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 680 new confirmed cases and 37 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, seven additional confirmed deaths and no new probable deaths.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 167,057, probable cases to 8,537, confirmed deaths to 3,653, and 243 probable deaths.

In Berkeley County, 264 cases have been reported in the last 14 days, slightly more than Dorchester County’s 262 cases in the last 14 days. Charleston County reported 627 cases in the last 14 days.

According data released Sunday, total positive cases in Berkeley County are 5,988 and total probable positives are 244.

Total deaths are 91 and probable deaths are four.

DHEC stated that total positive rate per 100k people in Berkeley County is 2,627.39.

Next door in Dorchester County total positive cases are 4,590 and total probable positives are 328, according to data released Sunday. Total deaths are 96 and probable deaths are 6. Total positive rate per 100k is 2,819.25.

Timberland celebrates after blanking rival Cross on Friday.

437th AMXS: Ensuring readiness of AMC’s largest C-17 fleet
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As the largest squadron within Air Mobility Command, the Airmen of the 437th Aircraft maintenance Squadron are charged with ensuring the U.S. Air Force’s largest fleet of C-17 Globemaster IIIs is ready anytime, anywhere.

From preflight to postflight, nose to tail, the maintainers of the 437th AMXS are tasked with guaranteeing Joint Base Charleston’s portion of the DOD’s global mobility capabilities at a moment’s notice.

“The thing that sets this unit apart from the rest is the sheer scope of missions we support,” said Tech Sgt. Eric Pearl, a production expeditor assigned to the 437th AMXS, “From aeromedical evacuations to humanitarian relief efforts, we play a large part in making sure those missions are successful.”

The squadron’s impact reaches worldwide. They are responsible for the deployment of their maintainers to ensure AMC’s airlift capabilities in eastablished and austere locations.

“Our C-17s can go anywhere from a large airport to small runways in the middle of nowhere,” said Pearl. “My favorite part of being in the maintenance squadron was working as a flying crew chief, traveling and seeing the full spectrum of what this aircraft is capable of. It was interesting to be part of a mission that started here in Charleston and then progressed all the way to Africa, or Europe, or anywhere in the world really.”

Officially activated December 27, 1965, under the name the 437th Organizational Maintenance Squadron, the squadron has been responsible for maintaining America’s airlift airframes like the C-124 Globemaster II, C-130 Hercules and the C-141A Starlifter since the Veitnam War.

“The C-17 is a relatively easy airframe to maintain,” said Staff Sgt. Brad Matheny, crew chief assigned to the 437th AMXS. “It’s like the manufacturer designed it to be maintainer friendly with an integrated diagnostic system that narrows down any issues we encounter to a pretty specific part of malfunction.”

The squadron has maintained a large part of the DOD’s airlift capabilities for nearly 55 years allowing our aircraft to support major conflicts and several humanitarian relief operations.

“Knowing you touched something, worked on it and it completed an important mission is a rewarding feeling,” said Matheny. “Even during the pandemic, these guys came in and got the mission done safely and were extremely flexible when it came to evacuating the jets prior to the most recent storm Hurricane Isaias.”

Dorchester Paws launches new adoption promotion
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COVID-19 has made holiday parties more difficult, but Dorchester Paws has an idea to bring you the purr-fect friend at a low price.

Starting Monday, Dorchester Paws began hosting an adoption promotion on cats and kittens for $25.

“After dealing with a long and extensive puppy and kitten season, the shelter has been either at capacity or close for several months,” according to a statement from Dorchester Paws officials.

In an effort to help find feline friends a forever home before the colder months arrive, Dorchester Paws launched its adoption promotion to include all cats and kittens; the fee includes their spay/neuter, vaccines and a microchip.

Residents interested in having the presence of another animal, but aren’t able to make the commitment of adoption are encouraged to foster a dog or cat, consider partaking in a Dorchester Paws Date with A Dog or consider inviting a Dorchester Paws dog over for a sleepover, officials stated

If interested in partaking in one of these avenues, residents should visit DorchesterPaws.org for more information and/or visit the shelter at 136 Four Paws Lane between noon and 5 p.m.

“For literally $25, you’re going to be able to get a fully vetted cat and it’s a deal that you rarely see,” said

Maddie Moore, interim executive director at Dorchester Paws on the Will You Accept This Rose? promotion. “Not only is it a great monetary deal, but once you bring one of our rescue cats into your life, you’ll realize that the unconditional love of a pet is priceless.”

Established in 1972, Dorchester Paws is the only open-admission shelter in Dorchester County serving all the lost, abandoned and abused dogs and cats.