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VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

Virus deaths at 40 in South Carolina; infections pass 1,900

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — State officials say the coronavirus has killed 40 people in South Carolina and confirmed infections now exceed 1,900 statewide. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported its latest figured on the virus outbreak Saturday afternoon. Sheriff's departments in York and Lexington counties said each had one employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 and that both are under quarantine at home. Meanwhile, Charleston police said two businesses _ a salon and a gym _ have been cited for remaining open in violation of the city's shelter-at-home ordinance.

STATE POLICE ACCREDITATION

SC state police receive accreditation and high honor

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s state police agency has again been accredited by a major law enforcement organization. The State Law Enforcement Division said it was also given an extra award by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. CALEA gave the state agency its excellence award. SLED first sought and obtained accreditation from CALEA in 1994. This is the third time the agency has received the organization’s seal of approval. SLED Chief Mark Keel says it is critical his agents be held to the highest standards.

LEGISLATURE RETURNS

Some Democrats say SC Legislature meeting is unsafe

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers are coming back to the Statehouse Wednesday, but not everyone is happy the Republican dominated House and Senate will be in session as the coronavirus spreads. Democratic state Sen. Mia McLeod of Columbia says she won't risk her life. She has sickle cell anemia. McLeod says it sends the wrong message for 170 lawmakers and staff to meet in one place when everyone else is being asked to stay apart. Democratic Sen. Thomas McElveen says the state constitution allows the governor to move the session if disease makes it unsafe. He suggests a basketabll arena. Gov. Henry McMaster says he has not received any requests.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

SC gov directs officials to release virus cases by ZIP code

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has directed the state health department to begin publicly disclosing confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code, a level of information specificity the agency had said was not necessary in the outbreak. In a tweet, McMaster said the directive was effective Friday, noting that he also wanted heath officials to begin providing “the estimated number of residents who are likely infected and untested” in the same ZIP code. Also on Friday, Greenville City Council passed an ordinance allowing a $100 fine for open, essential businesses that don't take steps to provide social distancing in their stores.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-NUCLEAR-WASTE

Cleanup of US nuclear waste takes back seat as virus spreads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government’s efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment. Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation’s only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe. Shipments to the desert outpost will be limited for the foreseeable future while national laboratories and defense sites around the country have shifted to only those operations considered “mission critical.”

LEGISLATURE RETURNS

SC House and Senate to come back for one day next week

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House and Senate plan to return for one day next week. Wednesday's session has a limited agenda of passing a resolution allowing state government to continue to spend money if a new budget isn't passed by July 1 and laying out what matters they can deal with after the regular session ends May 14. Both House and Senate leaders say members can spread out in the chamber and balconies. Senate Democrats don't like the plan and said senators should meet in smaller groups, maybe even by videoconferencing, then wait for the peak of the virus and meet all together.