Officials reported six new coronavirus cases on Saturday in South Carolina, according to a release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). That brings the Palmetto State’s statewide total to nineteen cases.
Three of the new “presumptive positive” cases came from Beaufort county, South Carolina. One came from Lexington county and two came from Kershaw county – which has been the epicenter of the virus’s spread in the Palmetto State.
Regarding the three new cases in Beaufort, SCDHEC officials said that “two cases are close contacts of each other and had known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 from another state.”
“The other case has no know connection to any other case and recently traveled internationally,” the agency noted. “All three cases are currently isolated at home.”
As for the two new Kershaw cases, officials said they have “no identified source of exposure” and that both individuals were “currently hospitalized and isolated.”
Kershaw has seen the most confirmed coronavirus cases of any county in the state – prompting a shutdown of the county’s school system (and the school system of neighboring Lancaster county).
As for the Lexington case announced on Saturday – the first in that county – it involved a male nursing home resident who had “no known exposure to another case and no recent travel history to an impacted area.” The man is “currently hospitalized and isolated,” according to SCDHEC.
Because this patient was a resident at an extended care nursing facility operated by Lexington Medical Center, “the source of this patient’s exposure is being investigated,” the agency noted.
SCDHEC “is working with the facility to identify all contacts and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread.”
“We are working closely with this extended care facility to immediately investigate possible exposures in an effort to mitigate any potential spread at this facility,” state epidemiologist Linda Bell said. “The facility is completely cooperative as we work through our contact investigation and staff are abiding by DHEC’s and CDC’s recommended actions for helping to protect this higher-risk population.”
At a previous press conference, Bell said that testing for COVID-19 should be more widely available now that the FDA approved some private labs to conduct official testing. DHEC’s public lab now has enough supplies to test 2,000 coronavirus samples – up to 80 to 100 a day “with the ability to double or triple that number as needed.”
On Friday, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency and as mentioned shut down schools in two counties where the COVID-19 outbreak has shown evidence of community spread.
Government offices will remain open while prisons and nursing homes restrict visitors.
Schools in Kershaw and Lancaster counties – which account for 13 of the state’s 19 coronavirus cases – will close for the next two weeks, McMaster said in a press release.
This story will be updated.
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