South Carolinians reminded to take actions to limit spread of COVID-19; Latest COVID-19 update

As restrictions are reduced by reopenings and South Carolinians return to their workplaces and participate in recreational activities that might involve crowds, DHEC continues to urge everyone to be vigilant in practicing social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

This reminder comes amid public health experts’ concerns over the recent rise in COVID-19 data trends in South Carolina.

“The more people you expose yourself to, the more you multiply your risk of being exposed to the virus,” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist. “There are those who are finding ways to hold graduations and open businesses safely through careful planning and attention to crowd density and safety measures such as wearing masks. When we don’t do those things, we can put ourselves and others at risk, and case counts will rise.”

As expected, part of the increase in COVID-19 cases is likely a result of increased testing efforts across the state. But other factors, including gatherings at which people fail to practice safety measures, could be in play as well. There is still a significant risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus in a public setting in any community. To reduce the spread, everyone should take following precautions:

  • Maintain social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others
  • Wear a cloth mask that covers your nose and mouth while in public
  • Avoid touching frequently touched items
  • Regularly wash your hands
  • Monitor for symptoms and stay home when sick

The more that South Carolinians take these necessary steps every day to reduce exposures, the more we can expect to see data trends begin to decrease, telling us that COVID-19 transmission is slowing across the state.

 

Latest COVID-19 Update (May 26, 2020):
Today, DHEC announced 235 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 17 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 12,651 and those who have died to 518.

15 of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals in Aiken (1), Darlington (1), Greenwood (1), Horry (1), Lancaster (1), Lee (2), Marlboro (1), Pickens (1), Spartanburg (3), Sumter (1), and York (2) counties. 2 deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals in Berkeley (1) and Charleston (1) counties.

The number of new cases by county are listed below.
Aiken (2), Allendale (1), Anderson (3), Bamberg (3), Barnwell (1), Beaufort (3), Berkeley (1), Charleston (11), Chester (5), Cherokee (1), Chesterfield (4), Colleton (3), Darlington (3), Dorchester (3), Edgefield (1), Fairfield (4), Florence (6), Greenville (51), Greenwood (2), Horry (17), Kershaw (7), Lancaster (15), Laurens (2), Lee (2), Lexington (18), Marion (1), Marlboro (4), McCormick (1), Newberry (2), Orangeburg (3), Pickens (5), Richland (30), Spartanburg (5), Sumter (11), Williamsburg (1), York (3)

Testing in South Carolina
As of June 1, a total of 230,687 tests have been conducted in the state (by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs). 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.

168 Permanent Testing Locations, Over 100 Mobile Testing Events Planned
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 111 mobile testing events scheduled through July 2, and 168 permanent testing locations across the state. with new testing events added regularly. Visit scdhec.gov/covid19testing to find a mobile testing event or permanent testing site near you.

Percent Positive Test Trends among Reported COVID-19 Cases
As South Carolina increases testing, there will likely be more laboratory-confirmed cases. The total number of individuals tested yesterday statewide was 5,211 and the percent positive was 4.5%. 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.

Hospital Bed Occupancy
As of this morning, 3,022 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,340 are in use, which is a 70.84% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,340 inpatient beds currently used, 433 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

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.