COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) want the public to know they are focused on preventing the spread of coronavirus.
At this time, no one in South Carolina has contracted the virus, officials said.
DHEC says it has well-established relationships working with health providers and has previously tested their ability to respond to public health threats such as coronavirus.
WATCH: Video from DHEC answers the question, “Am I at risk for coronavirus infection?” (Story continues below.)
While state officials seek to reassure the public, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he met with the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Robert Redfield, on Thursday.
Graham said they had a constructive meeting about the “need to immediately contain the coronavirus, treat those who may be impacted, and begin developing a long term plan for future outbreaks.”
The senator said he is confident in Redfield and his team.
Graham wants Congress to allocate more funding to fighting coronavirus and developing a vaccine. He also supports building up the CDC’s worldwide offices and staff, to help stop the spread of overseas pandemics before they reach the U.S.
Below is verbatim from DHEC about how they are preparing to fight coronavirus in South Carolina.
"In addition to monitoring CDC developments and daily guidance, we are taking deliberate steps to protect the health of the public. Among other things, we have:
- Developed tools for the investigation of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases and provided training to epidemiology staff across the state to investigate and report cases.
- Communicated information to hospital laboratories, infection preventionists, and physicians to keep them informed about how to identify and report possible cases to DHEC.
- Communicated information regarding the virus and prevention resources to hospitals, businesses, schools and state agencies across the state.
- Developed this webpage to provide information and other resources about COVID-19 for the public.
- Held an informational briefing for legislators and reporters on COVID-19 preparations and activities in South Carolina on Jan. 29, 2020.
- Held a teleconference for hospital public information officers (PIOs) on Jan. 31, 2020.
- With Governor McMaster, convened a meeting with the Public Health Emergency Plan Committee to discuss updates on the virus on Jan. 31, 2020.
- Provided an update for hospital executives at the South Carolina Hospital Association annual meeting on Feb. 5, 2020.
- Briefed the S.C. Board of Health and Environmental Control on COVID-19 preparations and activities in South Carolina on Feb. 13, 2020.
- Held a teleconference for South Carolina university and college PIOs on Feb. 14, 2020.
As a reminder, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina. While this is a serious and rapidly evolving public health matter, the CDC continues to believe the risk to the American public remains low at this time.
As we learn more about this virus, we will continue to update our website at scdhec.gov/COVID19."