June 8, 2020
In response to COVID-19, International Medical Corps and its disaster relief partner Bloomberg Philanthropies are distributing the first 50,000 masks—out of a planned distribution of 200,000—to three locations in the South Carolina low country: Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services (which serves four low-country counties), in Ridgeland; Mt Carmel Baptist Church (which works with the Beaufort County Ministerial Association), in Seabrook; and Beaufort City Hall.
“This donation of personal protective equipment could not have come at a better time,” said Mayor Billy Keyserling. “As our businesses begin to reopen around the state, it is imperative that all of our citizens have access to proper PPE to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Because of increased social interaction due to the Memorial Day holiday and increased testing, our nearly flattened numbers are rising. These resources make it possible for us to accelerate protection with masks, which along with social distancing are effective ways to control the spread. We are most grateful to our partners at International Medical Corps and Bloomberg Philanthropies for reaching out and providing a necessary tool we badly need.”
COVID-19 rates in South Carolina continue to rise, especially in underserved communities. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as of June 8, there have been 430 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Beaufort County, while South Carolina has had more than 14,280 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 546 deaths from the disease.
“The donation of these masks to the Sheldon Township Community Support Partnership, Pathways in STEP and Healthy Churches Consortium is a great blessing during our struggle with COVID-19,” said Pastor James E. Moore. “The Sheldon community is an underserved community that is making enormous strides in improving health, nutrition and spirituality. International Medical Corps and Community Relief Partnership, with Bloomberg Philanthropies, is to be commended for their contributions and compassion.”
Mt Carmel Baptist Church in Seabrook plans to distribute the masks to community-based organizations, with a focus on seniors and the most underserved. The PPE will bolster the community health support, including COVID-19 testing, that Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health is already providing.
“For the past 50 years, Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services Inc. has provided quality, affordable, accessible healthcare to low-country communities,” said M. LaFrance Ferguson, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “This donation of masks will go a long way in helping us continue to provide much-needed PPE to continue our efforts in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19 to communities with health disparities.”
The donations of PPE are part of a global COVID-19 response organized by International Medical Corps that includes the deployment of emergency medical field units, as well as medical supplies and equipment, and clinical volunteers, to health facilities around the US, including locations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Boston and Puerto Rico.
In responding to COVID-19, International Medical Corps is working globally with international health bodies, local and national governments, ministries of health, local health facilities and community-based organizations to provide expertise, equipment, training, and triage and treatment services. Its response prioritises areas where the disease has already spread or where healthcare systems—and communities—are particularly vulnerable.
For more information about International Medical Corps’ global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit: https://www.internationalmedicalcorps.org.uk/covid-19