South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC)) officials are investigating a new presumptive positive coronavirus case out of Lancaster County, South Carolina.
That brings South Carolina’s total to eight presumptive positive COVID-19 cases and two confirmed cases – with most of those cases out of Camden, South Carolina.
SCDHEC officials have tested a total of 51 people for COVID-19, now declared a pandemic across the globe, with 41 people who tested negative. They are waiting for confirmation on the eight presumptive positive cases that were tested at SCDHEC’s public lab to be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which can take up to 48 hours.
“Those (coronavirus) numbers are going to surge and soon, it will be a non-event when these cases are reported,” a public health official familiar with COVID-19 told FITSNews.
To compare, SCHEC has reported 356 positive flu tests just from March 1-7, according to the latest flu data. In that week alone, six people died from the flu, bringing the death toll to a total of 99 so far this flu season out of the 5,811 cases.
The cumulative mortality rate for influenza is 2 per 100,000, according to DHEC.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has said coronavirus has a 3.2 mortality rate – which is much higher than the flu — it’s important to note that it only counts officially confirmed cases.
“I think the mortality rate should be much lower because we don’t have the amount of tests for the mild cases.” the health expert told us. “The tests we have right now are mostly dealing with the really sick cases.”
Like the flu, the elderly have the highest mortality rates with coronavirus.
“Mostly the only people who have to worry about dying from this are the elderly and people with other medical issues,” our source said.
Across the globe, the coronavirus has been mostly sparing children. In China, just 2.5 percent of all COVID-19 cases were children. However, kids can still catch coronavirus, they’re just a lot less likely to see serious symptoms — making them “secret carriers.”
Because there is no cure for the coronavirus, a lot of the tests done are really for the doctors to rule out other illnesses that a patient can be treated for.
“I think a big reason for the panic is there really isn’t anything you can do about it if you get it,” the source said. “It’s not like there is something like a vaccine or Theraflu to make us feel better about this.”
It will get worse before it gets better, she said.
“Science hasn’t caught up to the coronavirus,” she said. “The best-case scenario would be for warm weather to slow this down enough time to give science a break.”
An epidemiology professor at John Hopkins told the Boston Herald that warmer weather should slow the number of cases down, but, again, it’s hard to tell because there hasn’t been enough scientific research on COVID-19.
What we know about the 10 cases
Here are the ten coronavirus cases confirmed by SCDEC since Friday, March 6:
- A woman in her 20s from Charleston County traveled to France and Italy over a week ago. She was never hospitalized and isolated herself at home. She did fly through the Charleston Airport. She only experienced mild symptoms.
- A woman in her 80s from Kershaw County who hadn’t recently traveled abroad. She appears to be linked to several other cases. She was hospitalized in the Midlands.
- A woman who was “hospitalized for reasons unrelated to (coronavirus). She had direct contact with the elderly Kershaw County/ Camden woman.
- An elderly man was temporarily admitted to a hospital, then discharged. He is also linked to the elderly Camden woman.
- A woman from Camden with no known connection to the other cases. She was not hospitalized.
- A Spartanburg County man with no known connection to the other cases, but traveled from Italy.
- A Camden man who was not hospitalize and is a direct contact with another case.
- Two people from Camden who were household contacts of a person or persons who tested positive in Camden.
- A woman from Lancaster County who is currently hospitalized. She didn’t travel outside of the U.S. recently and they don’t know of any contacts with other cases. Her case is being investigated.
All of those individuals were in isolation after testing positive. No deaths from the virus have been reported in South Carolina.
With a total of six presumptive positive cases and one confirmed case in Camden County, officials addressed concerns for community spread in the town with a population of just over 7,000.
“Our top priorities remain preventing spread of the disease and protecting public health,” Linda Bell, state epidemiologist, said. “Our systems for protecting public health are working. We’re continuing to work with the CDC and our state and local partners, however, based on what’s occurring in other states and countries, we expect community spread to grow.”
SCDHEC recommended residents to be precautious while going about their daily routines “by practicing good hygiene, washing your hands, covering your cough.”
Free virtual care
MUSC and Prisma are offering free virtual care for all South Carolinians experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 for instructions on how to access a medical professional through your phone or computer without having to go to the doctor’s office.
To access Prisma Health’s online care, click here and enter the promo code COVID19.
SCDHEC urged South Carolinians with general questions about coronavirus to visit scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here. The agency has also established a coronavirus call line at 1-855-472-3432.
Residents concerned about their own personal health — or who are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath — are being urged to call their personal doctor or health care provider.
What you can do
Because Coronavirus is spread mostly by human contact, hand washing is one of the best preventative measures you can take.
“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
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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