COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster addressed the possibility of two cases of coronavirus in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced the investigation into the cases on March 6.
Samples submitted in both cases did test positive at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory, but the cases must be confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials will provide an update on the test results once the results become available, which could be between 24 to 48 hours.
Officials said one case is located in Charleston County. The woman, who is in her 30s, traveled to France and Italy by plane. She did not require hospitalization and is self-isolated at home.
The other case is in Kershaw County and involves an adult female who is in her 80s. She has been hospitalized and is also in isolation. She has been transferred from Kershaw County to a Prisma Health Richland Hospital in the Midlands.
McMaster said there is no reason to alarmed and he does not believe South Carolinians are in danger. There is no evidence of ongoing spread in the community, health officials said.
“We understand that residents have concerns about how the virus may impact South Carolinians,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “While the risk to the public remains low, there is no evidence of ongoing transmission in the community at this time and our primary goals remain prevention and control.”
DHEC says they are monitoring individuals who have returned to the state from high-impact areas. Those individuals will be tested if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.
On March 6, Kershaw County officials provided this statement regarding the presumptive case:
“Kershaw County is closely monitoring this situation, and is following appropriate protocols in its management of Public Safety.”
The case in Charleston County involves a woman who, according to MUSC, is a team member that recently returned from a trip to Europe. However, she did not require hospitalization.
MUSC provided the following statement regarding the presumptive case in Charleston County:
"This individual self-identified to DHEC upon learning that community transmission had occurred in an area recently visited during a trip to Europe; she had not returned to work and still has not at this time.
Our team member practiced excellent public health and social responsibility by pursuing testing, taking appropriate hygienic precautions and self-quarantining at home. The patient had mild illness and has been asymptomatic for the past three days and is committed to remaining in self-quarantine for the remainder of the CDC-recommended 14-day timeframe.
We support our team member’s rights to privacy and protection of health information and will not confirm or deny name, role or any other identifying information. We want to emphasize the informed and calm response this team member took and we want to publicly commend her for doing so."
So far, DHEC has tested 10 people for coronavirus. That includes the two cases that were tested on Friday. Officials said the remaining tests are negative.
Eighteen people are being monitored for symptoms of the virus at this time. DHEC also said no additional precautions are being recommended for the public at this time.
Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, is urged to call their healthcare provider.
People with general questions about coronavirus should call the DHEC Care Line at 855-472-3432. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Callers are urged to be patient as call volumes are high.
Also, be sure to visit the WIS Coronavirus Updates page for the latest news.