COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - While the official number of cases of the coronavirus in South Carolina is 5,613 as of Monday, health officials said there could be more than 40,000 cases currently across the state.
The 5,613 cases are people who have tested positive for the virus.
According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), there could be tens of thousands more cases of the coronavirus among people who have not been tested.
For example, in Richland County there are 840 cases confirmed, but 5,160 estimated cases and a total of 6,000 possible cases, according to DHEC data.
“Estimated cases are calculated based on evidence that for every known case of COVID-19, there could be up to nine people with the virus who remain unidentified in the community,” DHEC says.
Explore the animated maps showing confirmed and estimated cases by county and then by zip code (story continues below maps).
Most people who contract COVID-19 do not have serious symptoms and can recover at home.
DHEC estimates that of the people who have not died from the coronavirus in South Carolina, 73% have recovered and 27% are still fighting.
Those who are most at risk for complications are elderly people with underlying health conditions.
“There are many people within our communities who have the virus and have never been tested,” DHEC said. “Undocumented infections often experience mild, limited or no symptoms, which is why they go unrecognized; they can expose a far greater portion of the population to the virus.”
The zip code information and estimate of unknown cases will be updated by DHEC daily. This story will be updated with it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spread mainly from person-to-person by those in close contact, or through coughing and sneezing by someone who’s infected.
Symptoms of the 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, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But some severe cases can lead to death.
Most people can recover from the virus at home using over-the-counter medications to treat their symptoms.
Those who are at the highest risk of developing severe case of COVID-19 are 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.
Those who are hospitalized with serious cases of COVID-19 have trouble breathing, and many need support from ventilators, which breathe for them. The U.S. is working to produce more of the machines to prepare, but experts fear a shortage of the life-saving devices.
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.
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 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.