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‘Calm Down And Wash Your Hands’: What To Know About Coronavirus As It Approaches SC

Mild cases of coronavirus are likely circulating in SC without being tested, according to experts.

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As of Wednesday morning, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Services (DHEC) said there were no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state.

Health officials said Wednesday five people in total had been tested for the disease in South Carolina, all with negative results. DHEC said 13 people are currently being monitored for COVID-19.

However, an infectious disease specialist in Charleston said the coronavirus is coming and people need to start getting ready for the outbreak that originated in China.

“There are six words that need to be put out there: Preparedness, not containment. This is coming.” Dr. Scott Curry said in a Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) news release.

As of Tuesday, medical professionals at MUSC in Charleston had tested two patients for the Coronavirus, but both tests came back negative, the news release said. Both of those patients had symptoms and travel history that qualified them to get tested according to federal regulations.

Several other people did not meet the restricted criteria for the illness “despite having compatible clinical illnesses and recent travel to countries where COVID-19 is widespread,” the news release said.

“It’s a matter of when, not if,” Curry said in the news release. “Hundreds of people come back from Italy, France and Germany through Charleston’s airport daily, and those with mild influenza-like illnesses cannot currently be tested for COVID-19 by our state public health lab. By the time we have severely ill people get hospitalized, COVID-19 will be widespread in the community from which those cases originated.” 

In the post, Curry said that mild cases of the coronavirus are likely circulating in South Carolina without being tested.

DHEC reported Wednesday they are “closely monitoring” what they call a “rapidly emerging outbreak” of coronavirus in the United States.

Both of South Carolina’s border states – North Carolina and Georgia – have confirmed cases of the disease this week. All three of those cases were travel-related.

North Carolina confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on Tuesday . That person was from Wake County, North Carolina.

Two people in Fulton County, Georgia tested positive for COVID-19  earlier this week, Georgia officials confirmed.

Washington state is seeing the worst of the virus in the United States with nine deaths, NPR reported. Eight of people were from the same county in Washington state and five of them were affiliated with a nursing home in Seattle, CNN reported.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that the mortality rate among patients is climbing and now at 3.4 percent – making it deadlier than the flu. As of Wednesday, there were 108 confirmed coronavirus cases across the U.S, but experts have said that the outbreak is much more widespread considering all the people that have mild symptoms who are unaware they have been infected.

‘Calm down and Wash Your Hands’

As a nurse said in a viral social media post, one of the best things you can do right now as coronavirus gets closer is “calm down and wash your hands.”

“Thorough hand washing (for at least 20 seconds at a time) helps prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19,” Prisma Health experts said. If hand washing isn’t possible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content.

Other preventative actions according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with
unwashed hands.

Experts don’t recommend buying masks as they need as many as possible for health and hospital employees.

The virus is spread “mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” according to the CDC. Symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Though there is no vaccination or treatment for coronavirus, data from China shows that 81 percent of the cases were mild and didn’t require hospitalization.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].

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