Mary Katherine Wildeman

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The state's precipitous rise in cases is concentrated along its coast. Charleston has been topping the state's daily totals since the third week of June, with 325 new cases reported in the county on Thursday. Dr. David Cole, president of MUSC Health, said the city's tourist economy and welcoming nature have contributed to a resurgence in the disease.

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As months have gone by, hospitals are better prepared for a surge in coronavirus cases. Area hospitals have added many ventilators, they have flexed beds to hold COVID-19 patients where necessary and made plans to add space if they must. But the one finite resource they can't scale up on a moment's notice: People.

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The Charleston region is seeing its worst outbreak so far. As of Wednesday, MUSC estimates that just over 2,000 people here are infected. That’s five times more than the virus’s initial peak in April, when fewer than 400 people were thought to have it.

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