COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 770 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths in South Carolina on Friday.
This is the third time a new record high for COVID-19 cases has been set in South Carolina in the last five days.
This brings the state’s total number of cases to 17,170 and there are now 593 total deaths related to COVID-19 in the state.
All five of the people who died were elderly (65 and older) residents of the following counties: Aiken (1), Charleston (1), Lexington (1), Orangeburg (1), and Richland (1).
Over the past three weeks, 40% of the state’s total number of cases have been diagnosed. The recent spike in cases is not just due to more testing, DHEC said.
While case numbers have increased, so has the percent positive. Percent positive refers to the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the number of tests being performed.
That rate has stayed over 12% during the past several days. Friday, it is 14.4%.
“As the number of tests being performed increases, so do the number of cases, we would expect that,” Dr. Joan Duwve, with DHEC, said. “However, that percent positive rate continues to increase, as well, which tells us that we are finding more real cases -- not just cases that were asymptomatic and not otherwise diagnosed.”
Since the state has mostly reopened, and Gov. Henry McMaster has stated lockdowns will not return, Duwve stressed the importance of people taking action to fight the spread of COVID-19.
The two things people can do are simple: social distance and wear a mask. Duwve said people just aren’t doing that, and that’s why cases are spiking.
“We all have work to do,” she said. “We need to lead by example.”
She said at this point in the outbreak, each person diagnosed will likely infect between two to four other people.
“So we will continue to see that rapid rise until we start practicing what we know can prevent the spread of this infection,” Duwve explained.
She also stressed people should stay home and get tested for the coronavirus if they have any of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- loss of smell
- vomiting, nausea and/or diarrhea
Included in this article is context on testing, recoveries, hospitalization, death rates, and more. That information is provided in detail below the info on new cases.
New confirmed cases by county as of Friday, June 12:
- Aiken (5)
- Anderson (11)
- Bamberg (1)
- Beaufort (33)
- Berkeley (9)
- Calhoun (3)
- Charleston (54)
- Cherokee (8)
- Chester (1)
- Chesterfield (9)
- Clarendon (6)
- Colleton (12)
- Darlington (4)
- Dillon (5)
- Dorchester (9)
- Edgefield (1)
- Fairfield (1)
- Florence (20)
- Georgetown (15)
- Greenville (142)
- Greenwood (24)
- Horry (88)
- Jasper (2)
- Kershaw (16)
- Lancaster (2)
- Laurens (11)
- Lee (1)
- Lexington (61)
- Marion (3)
- Marlboro (6)
- Newberry (3)
- Oconee (3)
- Orangeburg (11)
- Pickens (20)
- Richland (73)
- Saluda (2)
- Spartanburg (44)
- Sumter (23)
- Union (1)
- Williamsburg (5)
- York (22)
- Negative diagnostic tests (all labs) - 218,889
- Positive diagnostic tests (all labs) - 23,654
- Total diagnostic tests - 242,543
- Negative serology (antibody) tests - 26,913
- Positive serology (antibody) tests - 1,385
- Total serology (antibody) tests - 28,298
- Negative tests of unknown type** - 1,283
- Positive tests of unknown type** - 4
- Total tests of unknown type** - 1,287
- Total number of tests performed in South Carolina by DHEC and private labs - 272,128
*These numbers represent volume of tests received and not distinct individuals tested. Individuals could have multiple tests.
**Unknown test types refer to tests with an unrecognized type. As we continue to investigate unknown test types they will be reassigned as more information becomes available.
As readers may notice, DHEC has changed the way it’s reporting testing numbers in the state as of Thursday, June 11.
The agency said it’s been including antibody testing in its numbers since March 10, but it has not specified which tests were which until Thursday, June 11.
However, DHEC officials made clear they have not counted any positive antibody tests as positive COVID-19 cases.
“The inclusion of antibody test numbers in our daily testing numbers has not affected the number of cases in the state, however, it has slightly decreased the percent positive,” DHEC explained.
Antibody tests determine if a person has COVID-19 antibodies in their system, meaning they had a previous infection. It does not test for an active infection.
To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, click or tap here.
Percent positive refers to the number of positive COVID-19 cases in relation to the number of tests performed. With the increase in testing statewide, the percentage of positive cases has fallen since the start of the outbreak. However, the percent positive has increased over the last 28 days.
Within the last week, the percent positive among individuals tested has risen from 5.8% to 14.9% at its highest.
The following explanation on why the percent positive number is important comes straight from DHEC’s website:
"As South Carolina increases testing, there will likely be more laboratory-confirmed cases. The percent positive graphs show trends in the percent of cases of COVID-19 relative to the number of molecular tests performed during the last 28 and 14 days, respectively. The percent positive is the number of individual people that tested positive (770 as of June 11) divided by the number of individuals tested (5,357 as of June 11) by both DHEC’s laboratory and private laboratories, then multiplied by 100 (14.4% for June 11).
When the percent positive is high, it may indicate that there isn't enough testing being performed to capture how much disease is in the community and testing may be focused on people who are more severely ill.
When the percent positive is low, it may indicate that more widespread testing is being performed and the percent positive may more accurately reflect how much disease is present in the community.”
DHEC says as of Friday morning, 512 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or are under investigation for the possibility of having the virus. That’s about 20 more people than the day before.
Of all inpatient hospital beds in the state, 7,614 beds are in use and 2,839 beds are available, meaning about 72.84% of all beds in the state are in use.
As of June 11, DHEC has estimated 78% of people who didn’t die from the virus, and that they have “symptom onset data” for, have recovered. They only have that data for 11,132 people. Of those people, 503 have unfortunately died.
Based on that information, DHEC estimates that about 8,682 people have recovered so far. The rest of the people are still fighting the virus, DHEC says.
When looking at the confirmed numbers of cases and deaths, one could figure the death toll from the virus is about 3.45% in South Carolina.
If that is the case, as DHEC suggests, there may have been more than 122,643 coronavirus cases in the state so far. That would mean the death toll could be more like 0.48%.
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.
To help protect against COVID-19, DHEC encourages everyone to wear a mask covering whenever in public. When wearing a mask, South Carolinians should:
- Make sure you can breathe through it
- Wear it whenever going out in public
- Make sure it covers your nose and mouth
- Wash your hands before taking it on or off
- Wash after using
You should not:
- Use on children under age 2
- Touch the front of the mask
- Use surgical masks needed by healthcare workers
DHEC says homemade masks can reduce the chance of people spreading the virus and keep them from touching their face. They are recommended to be worn in places where social distancing is difficult -- grocery stores, pharmacies, etc...
People who have the virus but aren’t showing symptoms can reduce their chance of spreading the virus by wearing a mask, so everyone is recommended to wear one.
For a video tutorial on how to make your own mask, click or tap here.
Individuals with signs of illness are asked to stay at home and not attend public gatherings.
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.
Some people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms, but they can still spread it to others. The CDC estimates that up to 35% of all cases are asymptomatic.
Those who are at the highest risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 are the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.
The CDC says about 3% of people who show symptoms of the virus need to be hospitalized, but that percentage is doubled for seniors.
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 18 and 64.
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 life-saving devices.
Children are the least likely to develop COVID-19. However, a serious but rare inflammatory condition in children has been linked with the coronavirus. Click or tap here to read more about that.
The mortality rate for people with the virus was first widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts noted at the time that the actual percentage was not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.
As of mid-May, the CDC estimates about 0.4% of people who get COVID-19 will die from it.
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.