COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 2,715 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and 19 additional confirmed deaths.
This brings the total number of people with confirmed cases since the outbreak began to 213,795 and confirmed deaths to 4,194.
DHEC says the state’s hospital systems are “becoming increasingly burdened in caring for all of those who are severely suffering from this deadly virus.”
It’s a trend seen nationwide, but there are things South Carolinians can do to change the course, health officials said.
The following is directly from a press release sent by DHEC (more details on today’s numbers are below):
“The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are compelled in this moment to address the seriousness of our circumstances and the actions we can take to change our course.
“The most effective means for stopping this virus remain:
- Wearing a face mask
- Social distancing
- Limiting contact with those outside your household
- Routine testing
- Adhering to quarantine or isolation guidelines, as directed
“We have increasing evidence that household spread is contributing to new cases. This is why it’s so important for anyone identified as having had close contact with COVID-19 to follow quarantine guidelines, even if you don’t feel ill. Asymptomatic individuals are spreading the virus.
“The anticipated arrival of safe and effective vaccines brings hope and puts us one step closer toward ending this pandemic, but the general public won’t have access to vaccines for many more months. We must remain committed to the daily prevention methods that work.
“A recent study found that face mask-wearing by just 75 percent of the U.S. population alone would flatten the projected incidence curve and reduce infections by 37 percent. We can change our course. Coming together, South Carolinians can substantially slow the spread of the virus everywhere, from our most rural communities to our busiest cities.
“We thank our health care workers and first responders, nursing home employees, teachers, essential workers, local governments and community leaders for all you do each day to protect us, and we remember the 4,496 South Carolinians and all of those worldwide who have lost their lives to this disease. We won’t let these losses and personal sacrifices go unnoticed.
“We are currently in an all-hands-on-deck situation. We know South Carolinians can and will come together, now more than ever, to change our course. We are #SCStrong.”
DHEC now reports COVID-19 information on a 24-hour delay. The information released Saturday is accurate as of Thursday, Dec. 3.
Of the 19 deaths reported, 6 people were middle-aged (35-64) and 13 were elderly (65 and older).
Please click here for the county of residence and date of death for each person whose death was reported.
DHEC also announced 92 new probable cases of the virus and 2 new probable deaths. That brings the total of probable cases to 15,440 and the total number of probable deaths to 323 in the state since the outbreak began.
For more information about why DHEC reports probable cases and deaths, keep reading.
DHEC uses a document to show county-by-county numbers of new confirmed and probable cases. Cases are counted by a patient’s zip code of residence.
Included in this article is context on testing, recoveries, hospitalization, death rates, and more. Keep scrolling to find all of that information in detail.
Below is DHEC’s Key Indicators dashboard. It’s meant to give an “at-a-glance view” of important data points used to measure the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Data includes information for the current day, previous day, and previous 30 days. That’s used to create trend graphs for the public to quickly see if cases are on trending up or down, as well as the trends in testing, deaths, hospitalizations, and more.
The dashboard provides that info for the following data:
- Rate of cases per 100,000
- Rate of tests per 100,000
- Percent positive
- Deaths by date
- ICU hospitalizations
- COVID-19 patients
DHEC says each of the factors needs to be considered when evaluating the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina.
“One of these data elements should not be viewed as more important than another,” officials said.
The following chart is best viewed in full-screen mode. To do that, use the scroll bars to scroll all the way down and to the right, then click the full-screen icon.
DHEC encourages everyone who is out and about in the community to get tested routinely, at least each month.
If people plan to travel or gather for the holidays, officials say they should be tested before and after those events to “be positive you’re negative.” Find testing locations in the links below.
- Negative diagnostic tests (molecular/PCR viral tests) - 2,207,945
- Positive diagnostic tests (molecular/PCR viral tests) - 280,536
- Total diagnostic tests - 2,488,481
- Negative antigen tests - 222,591
- Positive antigen tests - 28,292
- Total antigen tests - 250,883
- Negative serology (antibody) tests - 79,812
- Positive serology (antibody) tests - 12,248
- Total serology (antibody) tests - 92,060
- Negative tests of unknown type** - 8,232
- Positive tests of unknown type** - 184
- Total tests of unknown type** - 8,416
- Total number of tests performed in South Carolina by DHEC and private labs - 2,839,840
*These numbers represent the 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 (DHEC) continues to investigate unknown test types they will be reassigned as more information becomes available.
>> To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, click or tap here.
DHEC officials made clear they have not counted any positive antibody tests as positive COVID-19 cases.
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.
Percent positive refers to the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the number of tests being performed. The percent positive has remained high since early June.
DHEC says the percent positive from the 13,073 tests reported to them statewide on Thursday was 20.8% (not including antibody tests).
When daily case numbers are high and the percent positive is high, that indicates more virus spread in the community, DHEC said.
To see the percent positive since the outbreak began in South Carolina, use the chart below, and click on “Testing.”
As of Saturday morning, DHEC says 80.42% of inpatient beds in South Carolina are in use while 79.14% of ICU beds are in use.
There are 1,029 hospitalized patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are under investigation for having the virus, DHEC said. Of those, 244 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.
DHEC is reporting 1,924 ventilators available in the state with 512 of them in use. COVID-19 patients account for 110 of those.
As of Dec. 1, DHEC has estimated 90.9% 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 132,161 people. Of those people, 3,076 have unfortunately died.
Based on that information, DHEC estimates that about 117,338 of those people have recovered so far. The rest of those people are still fighting the virus, DHEC says.
Note that this data is only available for about 60% of the total COVID-19 cases reported in South Carolina.
When looking at the confirmed numbers of cases and deaths, one could figure the death toll from the virus is about 1.98% in South Carolina.
However, DHEC previously estimated that for every confirmed case of the virus, there could be up to nine other people in the community who have also been infected.
If that is the case, as DHEC suggests, there may have been more than 1,898,955 coronavirus cases in the state so far. That would mean the death toll could be more like 0.22%.
On June 18, DHEC announced it would begin reporting probable cases and deaths. A probable case, according to DHEC officials, is an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test performed but meets the following qualifications:
- Has epidemiologic evidence and clinical evidence of infection, or
- A positive antibody blood test and either epidemiologic evidence or clinical evidence.
A probable death, according to DHEC, is a person whose death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death but did not undergo confirmatory viral testing.
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.