Joel TaylorAs I begin serving as Hilton Head Regional Healthcare’s CEO, I’d like to start by extending my utmost gratitude to the nurses, physicians, and colleagues serving at Coastal Carolina Hospital, Hilton Head Hospital, Tidewatch Emergency Department and the Bluffton Medical Campus. 

The last few months have been some of the most challenging yet rewarding in my career. The dedication and teamwork displayed by our colleagues has been extraordinary. Our staff and healthcare providers throughout our community work exceptionally hard to care for residents and visitors. 

Thank you all for everything you have done and continue to do. 

We understand the widespread concern and uncertainty surrounding the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping our patients, physicians, colleagues, and visitors safe and healthy are among our top priorities. 

We have all learned and adapted through each new phase of COVID-19 and want to thank everyone in the community for their continued patience and understanding as we press on. At our hospitals, we continue to adjust and modify our clinical processes and procedures to provide the best possible care for our patients. 

Times of great need come with the responsibility to respond appropriately. Hilton Head Regional Healthcare is honored to have served our community by providing much needed testing and vaccine distribution services over the past 19 months. 

Our efforts in community-based testing led to the successful administration of more than 42,000 COVID-19 tests from June 2020 to April 2021. We were also able to provide over 40,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses to residents in early 2021 thanks to many volunteers and local partners. 

Fortunately, there is greater availability of both testing and vaccinations sites throughout the community which allows us to focus on inpatient care. With this in mind, we constantly evaluate local need to assess if our services in these areas are needed. 

Similar to the rest of the country, our hospitals have seen several peaks and valleys related to both COVID-19 symptom ER visits and hospitalizations. Over these cycles during the last 19 months, our nurses, physicians, and colleagues have been ready to serve our patients and community. 

Hilton Head Regional Healthcare has a tradition of offering advanced care and comprehensive services, including emergency care, stroke services, cardiac surgery, orthopedic and spine services, urological services, and women’s and obstetrics services. We remain committed to continuing to provide these emergent and elective services to our community. 

We know it has been a long 19 months for everyone, but it is important that we all remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19. 

As the fall and winter seasons approach, we urge each of you to continue practicing COVID-19 safe behaviors which include maintaining 6 feet social distancing, practicing hand hygiene and wearing face masks when in enclosed public spaces. 

We encourage everyone in our community who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine to do so as it is the No. 1 thing you and your family can do to stay safe. 

Together, we will continue to get through this. 

Joel Taylor is Market Chief Executive Officer at Hilton Head Regional Healthcare.