Breaking News
More () »

South Carolina towns near Charlotte adapting to growth while facing COVID-19 challenges

Fort Mill Medical Center, an extension of Piedmont Medical Center, will soon open with 380 employees. The center was a big need in the rapidly growing community.

FORT MILL, S.C. — Just across the border from Charlotte are the South Carolina communities of Fort Mill and Tega Cay -- and growth in the Queen City has been spilling over across the state border.  

These towns are adapting to the growth while managing lingering challenges in hospitals and schools from the effects of COVID-19.

RELATED: NC requests FEMA assistance with health care staffing shortages, Medic stretched thin

“Lots of healthcare workers developed PTSD, lots of nurses stopped practicing,' Piedmont Medical Center CEO Mark Nosacka said. "In addition to that, everybody else wants healthcare - surgeries, etcetera. So the demands on every hospital in America have exceeded capacity."

Nosacka spoke at a community breakfast gathering Thursday, sharing the reality hospitals are dealing with. He said there are more people dying in hospitals now than during the first wave of the pandemic and 85-90% of those dying are unvaccinated.

Healthcare workers are having to make tough decisions related to care.

"Here’s what we have to do -- we have to run an emergency room, we have to treat the COVID patients safely so everybody else doesn’t get sick, we have to deliver babies, and we have to do emergency surgery," Nosacka said. "That’s what we have to, have to do. Everybody else we’ve got to triage and decide, 'Can we slow down care to accommodate for all those emergencies first?'"

But there is help on the way. Fort Mill Medical Center, an extension of Piedmont Medical Center, will soon open with 380 employees. The medical center was a big need in a community that is rapidly growing.

The superintendent of the Fort Mill School District, Chuck Epps, pointed out major growth in the area: in 1995, the district had 3,500 students and four school sites. Today, there are nearly 18,000 students with 20 school sites.

"So really the challenge that this school district has faced has been one of building schools, building capacity for all these new students," Epps said. 

Epps said the plan is to add a referendum to the ballot sometime in the next few years to pay for new schools. The Fort Mill School District is the smallest
geographically in the state, but is also the fastest-growing right now.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

RELATED: Fort Mill businesses grow thanks to town support

Paid Advertisement