Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Services (SCDHEC) have provided updated information on the latest number of confirmed or “presumptive positive” tests for the 2019-2020 coronavirus (known officially as 2019-nCoV or COVID-19).
For the second day in a row, the number of new cases announced represented the largest single-day spike for the virus – with Friday’s 45 cases more than doubling the 21 new cases announced on Thursday.
The good news? The total number of negative tests conducted by SCDHEC’s public health laboratory totaled 1,255 – up from a total of 833 negative tests announced on Thursday. Negative tests conducted by private labs are not included in those totals.
The biggest spike in positive cases came from Richland county, home to the state capital of Columbia, S.C. There, fourteen new cases were announced – bringing the county’s total to 22 cases. The epicenter of the outbreak continues to be Kershaw county, which borders Richland county to the northeast. There, an additional seven cases were announced on Friday – bringing its total to 36 cases.
Two hours after announcing the latest case totals, SCDHEC announced that there were two additional deaths in the state associated with the coronavirus outbreak – bringing the statewide total to three.
“Sadly, our state has suffered the loss of two of our own,” said Linda Bell, South Carolina’s state epidemiologist. “In the case of both deaths, the patients had recently been reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19. On behalf of all South Carolinians, we want to express our deepest sympathy for the families and loved ones of these two individuals.”
One of the two deaths reported on Friday evening was an elderly person with an underlying health condition from Florence county. The other was another elderly person with an underlying health condition from Charleston county.
According to SCDHEC, the Charleston death involved a resident of Harmony – an assisted living facility in the West Ashley region of the Holy City. According to the agency, it was working “with the facility to identify all contacts and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread.”
Per SCDHEC, here is the latest breakdown of the cases it is tracking by county …
- Kershaw County: 36
- Richland County: 22
- Greenville County: 12
- Beaufort County : 8
- Horry County: 8
- Lexington County: 8
- Anderson County: 6
- Charleston County: 5
- Lancaster County: 3
- Orangeburg County: 2
- Abbeville County: 1
- Aiken County: 1
- Berkeley County: 1
- Calhoun County: 1
- Clarendon County: 1
- Darlington County: 1
- Dorchester County: 1
- Fairfield County: 1
- Florence County: 1
- Lee County: 1
- Pickens County: 1
- Saluda County: 1
- Spartanburg County: 1
- Sumter County: 1
- York County: 1
And here is a look at the latest SCDHEC map showing the geographic distribution of cases …
(Click to view)
As we have previously noted, it is important to remember coronavirus case data released by SCDHEC does not represent the complete extent of testing in South Carolina. Private labs are also testing, and SCDHEC does not always include that data. Furthermore, confirmed or presumed positive cases derived from both sources – private labs and government testing centers – obviously do not represent the total number of South Carolinians infected by the virus.
That count is likely much higher …
“The public needs to take our recommendations to prevent spread seriously so we can best protect our family, friends and neighbors,” Bell said. “Unfortunately, these case numbers will continue to increase. The agency is working around the clock to prevent the spread of this disease, focusing on those who are most high-risk for experiencing severe illness from the disease. I’d like to remind all South Carolinians that we all have a responsibility to take the recommended steps for limiting spread.”
As of Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. EDT there were at least 16,656 people in the United States infected with the virus, according to a database maintained by The New York Times. A total of 212 Americans have died as a result of exposure to the virus.
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