COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Two more COVID-19 patients have died as the caseload in South Carolina continues to climb.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) originally announced Friday that the total amount of COVID-19 cases in the state have hiked up to 124 cases in 25 counties. They later announced the two new deaths, making these two cases the second and third deaths tied to the virus in the state.
“Sadly, our state has suffered the loss of two of our own,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “In the case of both deaths, the patients had recently been reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19. On behalf of all South Carolinians, we want to express our deepest sympathy for the families and loved ones of these two individuals.”
One patient was an elderly person with an underlying health condition from Florence County. The other patient was an elderly person with an underlying health condition from Charleston County and was a resident of Harmony Assisted Living Facility. DHEC is working with the facility to identify all contacts and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread.
“It is never easy to have to report on the deaths of fellow members of our community,” Bell said. “We must continue to do all that we can to protect ourselves and those around us from illness by taking precautions to limit the spread of germs. This is especially important for those at higher risk, like the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions.”
The announcements come days after Gov. Henry McMaster announced the shutting down of dining rooms and bars across the state and as students began learning from home with the closure of schools.
“The public needs to take our recommendations to prevent spread seriously so we can best protect our family, friends and neighbors,” said Bell. “Unfortunately, these case numbers will continue to increase. The agency is working around the clock to prevent the spread of this disease, focusing on those who are most high-risk for experiencing severe illness from the disease. I’d like to remind all South Carolinians that we all have a responsibility to take the recommended steps for limiting spread.”
Of the 45 new cases announced in the state, nine of them are in the Upstate. Five cases are reported in Greenville County, three in Anderson County, and one in Pickens County. Greenville County saw the second-highest increase, with Richland County seeing more new cases at 14.
Here's the full breakdown of new cases in South Carolina:
- Aiken County, 1 new case
- Anderson County, 3 new cases
- Beaufort County, 1 new case
- Berkeley County, 1 new case
- Charleston County, 1 new case
- Clarendon County, 1 new case
- Darlington County, 1 new case
- Florence County, 1 new case
- Greenville County, 5 new cases
- Horry County, 2 new cases
- Kershaw County, 2 new cases
- Lexington County, 3 new cases
- Orangeburg County, 2 new cases
- Pickens County, 1 new case
- Richland County, 14 new cases
- Sumter County, 1 new case
With these new numbers, Kershaw County still has the most cases in the state, with 36 positive cases. Richland County has the second highest caseload with 22 positive cases, while Greenville County has the third highest caseload with 12 positive cases. You can see a map of the current cases online.
“This will likely be an extended response and we want people to be prepared for more cases to occur and to continue to listen to and follow recommendations from public health officials,” Bell said.
Individuals with signs of illness are asked to stay at home and not attend public gatherings. South Carolinians are encouraged to monitor for symptoms, practice social distancing, avoid touching frequently touched items (i.e. doorknobs and rails), and regularly wash their hands, especially after being in a public place.
Several South Carolina health systems are offering telehealth options to the public. For telehealth options and the latest information about DHEC’s COVID-19 response efforts, please visit scdhec.gov/COVID19. For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC website here.