COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 82 new cases of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the state Wednesday.
That brings the state total to 424 cases in 39 counties.
Kershaw County, the initial hot spot for the virus, now has 63 cases. Richland County has one of the highest totals in the state, with 59 cases.
Use this interactive map to see the number of cases by county (story continues below):
With the numbers Wednesday, DHEC also released data which projects how many new cases of coronavirus we could see in South Carolina through May 2.
“This data projects 2,657 cumulative cases by April 2 and 8,053 cases by May 2,” DHEC officials wrote. “However, projected data is estimated and may change significantly due to various factors.”
It’s important to note DHEC does not expect those 8,053 people to be sick at one time, if we see that number of cases. That is a number that would include people who are infected now or in the near future, who will recover.
Currently, about 80% of people who get the virus do not require hospitalization.
Tuesday, State Epidemiologist Linda Bell said the state is now in the “acceleration” phase of the virus, meaning they are working to mitigate the spread everywhere.
That means everyone should act as if they have the virus, and believe that everyone they come into contact with also has the virus -- to help prevent the spread.
“As the number of cases in the state significantly increases, the method for controlling the disease spread changes from in-depth investigations of every individual case to community strategies,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician consultant, explained. “Residents should not expect individual notification that they were exposed to a case, rather everyone should practice social distancing, stay home and stay away from other people if they’re sick, and wash their hands frequently with soap and water.”
Two more deaths were announced Tuesday, bringing the total to seven people who have died in the state after contracting the virus.
Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider. Avoid going to the doctor or an emergency room unless the situation is life-threatening.
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. every day. Callers are urged to be patient as call volumes are high.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the coronavirus is spread mainly from person-to-person by those in close contact, or through coughing and sneezing by someone who’s infected.
Symptoms of coronavirus can show up between two and 14 days of exposure, health officials say. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But some severe cases can lead to death.
Those who are at the highest risk of catching COVID-19 are the young, the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.
Young people who contract the virus are not likely to have a serious case, research shows. However, the CDC said about 40% of people who needed to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus are between the ages of 20 and 54.
Doctors say there is not currently a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, but over-the-counter medications, like cold and cough medicines, can help treat symptoms of the virus.
The mortality rate for people with the virus has been widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts note the actual percentage is not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.
The rate is higher than the flu, which kills on average about 0.1% of people who get it, based on a 10-year average of data from the CDC.
People without a doctor can take advantage of free online screening from Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
MUSC has an online platform to aid with coronavirus diagnosis and care. Go to musc.care and access the COVID-19 platform. The service is free with code: COVID19.
Prisma Health also has a free virtual visit, which allows patients to video conference with a doctor instead of coming into a facility. The goal is to keep patients who don’t need to be treated at a hospital at home. Go to prismahealth.org/virtual-visit and use promo code COVID19 for a free virtual visit.
For more information on COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the CDC’s website.