COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is once again offering a list of the state’s COVID-19 cases by zip code.
The agency went back-and-forth about creating and sharing such a list, but under order by the governor, began sharing the list again April 3.
The list was initially created after a request by the S.C. Association of Counties to prepare first responders, calling them the “boots on the ground” during the COVID-19 fight.
Zip code information is critical to help determine how emergency personnel respond to calls, Midway Fire Chief Doug Eggiman said.
Since the list was first shared, DHEC momentarily stopped listing the number of cases in each zip code, and instead listed the number of cases in each county and included which zip codes are affected.
Health officials said they were concerned after seeing some residents post they were in a “safe zone” because their zip code was not listed.
Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, said that is a false sense of security.
Bell said there are many unreported cases of the virus in the state, and everyone should assume they could be exposed.
With the new list shared April 3, DHEC will soon add information about an estimated number of positive, unreported cases of the virus in each county. That information will be available April 5.
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.