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Camden residents react to coronavirus cases, community spread

Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 8:15 PM EDT
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CAMDEN, S.C. (WIS) - It was business as usual Monday afternoon in downtown Camden.

There was a steady flow of cars on Broad and Dekalb streets. But foot traffic was light at Mulberry Market Bake Shop.

Fran and Peter Rowland's bakery has been around since 1993 and is a local favorite. They said Monday was unusually slow.

“Today has been rather quiet,” Fran Rowland said.

The Rowlands said they've been watching the news of possible coronavirus cases in the city very closely. They've been taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their customers safe.

Fran Rowland said she isn’t sure if concerns of community spread of the coronavirus played a role in their slow day on Monday.

“I think it could possibly -- but we did have the Irish Fest this weekend. So people could have the ‘Irish Fest hangover’ this morning and with Daylight Saving Time people could be lagging,” she said.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, state health officials confirmed there is community spread in Camden.

“We now have evidence of community spread that’s likely to be causing these initial cases in Kershaw County and the risk of spread to other communities is possible, as seen in other states across the country," State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said.

City and county leaders said they are asking people to wash their hands and use hand sanitizers. They have plans in place if things escalate in the city and county.

But as of right now, they want to make sure people in the community get accurate information.

“We want folks to know what’s going on -- not a lot of hearsay, but know what’s actually going in the community,” Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford said.

Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter echoed those thoughts.

“Initial rumors are more often than not, not the reality when it comes down to it,” he said. “Always be cautious when you hear a rumor because you don’t know if it’s actually happening.”

Carpenter said the county has set up a website to keep residents updated. Click or tap here to visit it.

The Rowlands said they hope everyone impacted by the disease makes a full recovery.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, there are a total of five cases in Camden being investigated.

One is confirmed and four are presumptive positive cases awaiting confirmation from the CDC.

Three of the cases in Camden are connected to the confirmed case. Those three people had direct contact with the elderly Kershaw County woman confirmed to have the coronavirus.

The other person traveled to Italy recently, officials said.

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. during the week. Callers are urged to be patient as call volumes are high.

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