DHEC: 121 new cases of coronavirus in S.C., 2 new deaths; 1,500 samples backlogged for testing

DHEC: 121 new cases of coronavirus in S.C., 2 new deaths; 1,500 samples backlogged for testing

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 121 new COVID-19 cases within the state on Saturday.

The new cases now bring the total statewide number of cases to 660 in 40 counties.

Two additional deaths related to COVID-19 have also been confirmed. This brings the state’s total number of deaths to 15.

Both patients were elderly individuals who had underlying health conditions. One patient was a resident of Richland County and one was a resident of Horry County.

“Our sincere sympathies are with the family and friends of these individuals as well as the family and friends of everyone who has lost someone to this disease,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician. “Having to report two additional deaths today is a critical reminder of how serious this situation is and how we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.”

The number of new cases by county are listed below.

  • Aiken County: 1 case
  • Anderson County: 4 cases
  • Beaufort County: 4 cases
  • Berkeley County: 3 cases
  • Charleston County: 16 cases
  • Chester County: 1 case
  • Clarendon County: 1 case
  • Colleton County: 2 cases
  • Dorchester County: 1 case
  • Florence County: 1 case
  • Georgetown County: 3 cases
  • Greenville County: 6 cases
  • Greenwood County: 1 case
  • Horry County: 4 cases
  • Kershaw County: 7 cases
  • Lancaster County: 1 case
  • Laurens County: 2 cases
  • Lee County: 3 cases
  • Lexington County: 5 cases
  • Newberry County: 1 case
  • Orangeburg County: 2 cases
  • Pickens County: 3 cases
  • Richland County: 16 cases
  • Spartanburg County: 5 cases
  • Sumter County: 14 cases
  • Williamsburg County: 1 case
  • York County: 13 cases


DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory testing backlog is down to 1,500 from 1,800. This includes new samples submitted this morning.

DHEC says the backlog is due to the nationwide shortage in the chemicals required for performing testing. As of yesterday, the laboratory has the necessary chemicals and is processing tests as normal.

DHEC’s lab is performing a double round of tests today and tomorrow to clear the backlog. Lab doctors and technicians are working extended hours, as well as, seven days a week.

The laboratory relays test results back to the health care provider who submitted the sample. Test results cannot be received by calling DHEC directly. Individuals receive test results from their health care provider.

Additionally, residents can prepare for a possible illness or quarantine by:

  • Periodically checking regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply at home
  • Having nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins
  • Getting copies and maintaining electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other sources and store them, for personal reference
  • Talking with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.

Individuals with signs of illness are asked to stay at home and not attend public gatherings.

South Carolinians are encouraged to monitor for symptoms, practice social distancing, avoid touching frequently touched items (such as doorknobs and handrails), and regularly wash their hands, especially after being in a public place.

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.

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.xThe 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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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.

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.

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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