South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) officials are investigating two additional presumptive positive coronavirus cases in Kershaw and Lancaster counties — which means eight of the state’s 12 COVID-19 cases come from the small town of Camden.
The latest cases bring South Carolina’s total to six presumptive positive COVID-19 cases and six confirmed cases —with most of those cases out of Camden, South Carolina, a town with a population of just over 7,000.
“DHEC is working with the healthcare facility and taking routine measures to prevent possible spread,” SCDHEC officials said in their latest press release Thursday.
SCDHEC officials have tested a total of 87 people for COVID-19, with 75 people who tested negative. They are waiting for confirmation on the six 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.
One of the latest cases is a person in Lancaster County who is a family member or close friend of another person who has tested positive for COVID-19. He was sent home after he was evaluated at a health care facility.
The other latest case is a man from Camden, South Carolina in Kershaw County, where most of the cases in the state have originated from. The Camden man is currently in the hospital in isolation. SCDHEC did not say if he was connected to other cases.
The Carolina Cup —Camden’s largest annual event brining tens of thousands to the small town — cancelled its event for March 28 in light of recent events. Officials from the Carolina Cup Association said their decision was made by following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
“While the decision was not made lightly, the CCRA puts the safety of our patrons, athletes, residents of South Carolina and staff first,” the announcement said.
SCDHEC said Thursday they are “monitoring the status of the virus in South Carolina to make decisions about large gatherings.” They said at this point, it is not necessary to cancel schools or events.
Not everyone agreed with SCDEC’s announcement, however.
SCDHEC said individuals with signs of illness should stay away from school and any event.
12 cases in SC
Here are the 12 coronavirus cases confirmed by SCDEC since March 6:
- A woman in her 20s from Charleston County traveled to Italy 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.
- A household contact of the above Lancaster County case. This person wasn’t hospitalized.
- A Camden man currently hospitalized. It doesn’t appear his case is connected to any others.
All of those individuals were in isolation after testing positive. No deaths from the virus have been reported in South Carolina.
As cases have steadily increased over the past few days, SCDHEC officials did not change their message from previous days.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will modify our recommendations to address what the public health data is showing in South Carolina and in other areas,” Linda Bell, state epidemiologist, said. “Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health. This includes working to control spread and measures that best protect all individuals.”
SCDHEC recommended residents to be precautious while going about their daily routines “by practicing good hygiene, washing your hands, covering your cough.”
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.
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,” a public health official told FITSNews. “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 because there really isn’t anything you can do about it if you get it,” our source said. “It’s not like there is something like a vaccine or Theraflu to make us feel better about this.”
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.
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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