DHEC warns of increased cases of COVID-19 in youth and young adults, latest COVID-19 update

South Carolinians under the age of 30 are testing positive for COVID-19 in increasing numbers the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.

As of today, 4,160 of the 22,608 confirmed cases in South Carolina are people ages 21 to 30. This accounts for 18.4% of all confirmed cases in the state. Additionally, people in their teens account for 7.0% of confirmed cases.

“The increases that we’re seeing serve as a warning that young adults and youth are not immune to COVID-19,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician consultant. “They also tell us that younger South Carolinians are not taking social distancing seriously.”

Since April 4, data from the agency shows that there has been a 413.9% increase in newly reported COVID-19 cases among the 21-30 age group, and a 966.1% increase in newly reported COVID-19 cases among the 11-20 age group. This data follows national trends that indicate a growing number of young adults and youth being confirmed to have COVID-19.

“While it is true that most youth and younger adults with COVID-19 only experience a mild illness, that is not true for all,” Traxler said. “In addition, it’s important to remember that even with mild or no symptoms you can spread the disease to those around you – your friends, teammates, and family. We’re calling on our younger generation of South Carolinians to be leaders in their communities by taking actions to stop the spread of COVID-19. Lead by example and use your voice to let others know that social distancing and wearing a mask in public helps save lives.”

As part of DHEC’s ongoing outreach efforts, the agency launched the #StaySCStrong campaign to help South Carolinians stay informed and engaged in the fight against COVID-19. The campaign consists of toolkits, including social media posts, graphics, flyers, posters and more. To find these materials and to learn how to share your own video message, visit scdhec.gov/stayscstrong.

 

Latest COVID-19 Update (June 19, 2020)
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 1,081 new confirmed cases and five new probable cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and 18 additional confirmed deaths. There are currently 660 hospital beds occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 22,608, probable cases to 23, confirmed deaths to 639, and zero probable deaths. Nine of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Chesterfield (1), Colleton (1), Greenville (1), Horry (3), Lancaster (1), Orangeburg (1), and Spartanburg (1) counties. Eight occurred in middle-aged individuals from Charleston (2), Greenville (2), Horry (1), Newberry (1), Orangeburg (1), and Sumter (1) counties, and one death was a young adult from Spartanburg County.

The number of new confirmed cases by county are listed below.
Aiken (5), Allendale (4), Anderson (22), Bamberg (2), Barnwell (1), Beaufort (38), Berkeley (52), Calhoun (9), Charleston (153), Cherokee (3), Chester (4), Chesterfield (6), Clarendon (3), Colleton (2), Darlington (5), Dillon (3), Dorchester (21), Edgefield (2), Fairfield (8), Florence (7), Georgetown (17), Greenville (115), Greenwood (23), Hampton (3), Horry (115), Jasper (2), Kershaw (15), Lancaster (21), Laurens (13), Lee (1), Lexington (79), Marion (4), Marlboro (6), Newberry (2), Oconee (5), Orangeburg (28), Pickens (59), Richland (86), Saluda (4), Spartanburg (59), Sumter (46), Union (1), Williamsburg (13), York (13), Unknown (1)

The number of new probable cases are listed below.

Greenville (1), Lexington (2), Richland (2)

Testing in South Carolina
As of yesterday, a total of 321,689 tests have been conducted in the state. See a detailed breakdown of tests in South Carolina on the Data and Projections webpage. DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.

Percent Positive Test Trends among Reported COVID-19 Cases
The total number of individuals tested yesterday statewide was 6,713 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 16.1%. When the percent positive is low, it may indicate that more widespread testing is being performed and the percent positive may more accurately reflect how much disease is present in the community.

More than 60 Mobile Testing Clinics Scheduled Statewide
As part of our ongoing efforts to increase testing in underserved and rural communities across the state, DHEC is working with community partners to set up mobile testing clinics that bring testing to these communities. Currently, there are 62 mobile testing events scheduled through July 21 with new testing events added regularly. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at scdhec.gov/covid19mobileclinics.

Residents can also get tested at one of 173 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state. Visit scdhec.gov/covid19testing for more information.

Hospital Bed Occupancy
As of this morning, 3,019 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,461 are in use, which is a 71.19% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,461 inpatient beds currently used, 660 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

How South Carolinians Can Stop the Spread
COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious. This places everyone at risk of getting the virus or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else. Steps we can all take to protect ourselves and others include:

  • Practicing social distancing
  • Wearing a mask in public
  • Avoiding group gatherings
  • Regularly washing your hands
  • Staying home if sick

For the latest information related to COVID-19 visit scdhec.gov/COVID-19. Visit scdmh.net for stress, anxiety and mental health resources from the S.C. Department of Mental Health.

*As new information is provided to the department, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 map will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.