COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said Thursday he has issued a new executive order to keep more people at home in the fight to contain the spread of coronavirus as doctors confirmed 21 new cases of the virus in the state.

Under the order, all non-essential state employees must stay home from work. State agency heads will determine which employees should stay home.

Public universities and colleges are also encouraged to allow students to finish the semester online instead of in-person instruction, and to allow any workers who can work from home to do so.

Law enforcement is ordered to “vigorously enforce the law” to prevent looting, violence, or any lawlessness during this state of emergency under the order. McMaster said he is asking agencies to put school resource officers and court officers on duty if needed since schools and courts are closed.

“I want to ensure the people in the state that law enforcement is on duty,” and working to keep people from being harmed, McMaster said.

The executive order goes into effect Friday.

In addition, McMaster is asking all hospitals and overnight medical facilities restrict all visitation with patients unless it is an end of life circumstance.

The governor also asked people not to hoard items and buy only what they need.

“Please stay home if you can,” the governor added.

On Thursday, DHEC said there have been 81 confirmed cases in 17 counties. Officials said fewer than ten percent of the tests administered in the state thus far have yielded positive results.

“Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health. This includes working to control spread and sharing measures that best protect our family, friends and neighbors,”said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist in a news release. “As cases increase, we also are prioritizing identifying close contacts who are at high risk of illness from exposure and who are more likely to have serious illness.”

Below are the number of new cases by county:

  • Abbeville County: 1 new case
  • Anderson County: 1 new case
  • Beaufort County: 1 new case
  • Charleston County: 1 new case
  • Dorchester County: 1 new case
  • Greenville County: 4 new cases
  • Horry County: 1 new case
  • Kershaw County: 4 new cases
  • Lancaster County: 1 new case
  • Lexington County: 1 new case
  • Richland County: 4 new cases
  • Saluda County: 1 new case

Click here to read Gov. McMaster’s newest executive order in full.

RELATED: AG's office: Nearly 100 price gouging complaints reported in SC so far. Here's how you can report it

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