Governor orders visitors from coronavirus ‘hot spots’ to self-quarantine; S.C. has 539 cases, 13 deaths

S.C. governor, Senators Graham, Scott update public on coronavirus outbreak

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster issued a new executive order Friday to help fight the spread of the coronavirus in South Carolina.

The governor was joined by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as well as public health officials, to update the public Friday.

McMaster issued an executive order that requires out-of-state visitors who travel here from a coronavirus “hot spot” to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Those hot spots include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the city of New Orleans.

The order gives law enforcement the ability to criminally charge anyone who disobeys it. The penalty for breaking the law could land someone in jail for up to 30 days, and/or give them a fine up to $1,000.

During the update Friday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 86 new cases of the virus.

That means there have been 539 positive cases reported across the state in 39 counties.

Four more people have died after contracting coronavirus, DHEC also said. With that update, so far statewide, 13 people have died.



DHEC’s public lab is trying to work through a backlog of 1,800 samples that need to be tested as of Friday. Shortages of chemicals used in testing have caused a two-day delay, officials said.

The lab was able to recreate the necessary chemical and resumed testing Thursday. Private labs in the state are also testing samples.

As far as how well equipped South Carolina is to respond to the outbreak, DHEC said there are about 54% of hospital beds available and 1,000 ventilators available. Right now 180 ventilators are in use.

Friday, DHEC also released a list of coronavirus cases in the state by zip code.

FACTS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

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.

Coronavirus: Flattening the curve

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.

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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.

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