The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) announced on Thursday that it was investigating another 32 presumptive positive tests of the 2019-2020 coronavirus – bringing the statewide total to 456 confirmed or presumptive positive tests since the first cases were announced earlier this month.
The agency also announced two additional deaths related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to nine.
One of those deaths was lobbyist John C. “Jack” West III of Camden, S.C., whose family announced his passing late Wednesday after a two-week battle with the virus.
“For those of you NOT taking this virus seriously … hopefully this will WAKE YOU UP!” West’s step-daughter wrote on Facebook in response to his passing.
In announcing the latest results, SCDHEC confirmed something we first reported three days ago – that the agency’s already limited testing for the virus had been slowed down even further due to “shortages of critical test processing material … including the reagents used to conduct the coronavirus tests.”
“The fluctuation in the number of new cases from day to day reflects the availability of the reagents, or chemicals, needed for laboratories to perform the testing,” the agency acknowledged in a statement. “There is currently a shortage of these reagents nationwide, including in South Carolina, which can lead to delays in test results.”
As we have frequently pointed out in covering the daily SCDHEC data releases, the case numbers released by the agency do not constitute the complete extent of coronavirus testing in South Carolina. Private labs are also conducting tests, and SCDHEC does not always include data from these labs in its releases. Furthermore, positive cases obtained from both sources – private labs and government testing centers – obviously do not represent the total number of South Carolinians who have been infected by the virus.
Now, SCDHEC is admitting its own testing efforts are hamstrung due to a lack of supplies – which further undercuts the reliability of the data, making it even more difficult for policymakers to take informed action.
Speaking of …
South Carolina governor Henry McMaster announced on Thursday that he was still disinclined to issue a statewide “shelter in place” order, although leaders in the capital city of Columbia, S.C. – which is home to the taxpayer-provided governor’s mansion where McMaster resides as well as his private home – voted at 2:00 p.m. EDT to impose such an order within the city limits.
A similar order was adopted yesterday by city leaders in Charleston, S.C.
Here is the geographic breakdown of the latest South Carolina cases, per the available SCDHEC data …
- Kershaw County: 64
- Charleston County: 60
- Richland County: 60
- Greenville County: 51
- Beaufort County : 29
- Anderson County: 21
- Horry County: 21
- Lexington County: 20
- York County: 19
- Orangeburg County: 11
- Sumter County: 10
- Spartanburg County: 9
- Berkeley County: 8
- Darlington County: 8
- Lancaster County: 7
- Pickens County: 6
- Clarendon County: 5
- Florence County: 5
- Abbeville County: 4
- Aiken County: 4
- Dorchester County: 4
- Fairfield County: 4
- Chesterfield County: 3
- Georgetown County: 3
- Jasper County: 3
- Greenwood County: 2
- Lee County: 2
- Oconee County: 2
- Calhoun County: 1
- Chester County: 1
- Colleton County: 1
- Dillon County: 1
- Edgefield County: 1
- Marion County: 1
- Marlboro County: 1
- Newberry County: 1
- Saluda County: 1
- Union County: 1
- Williamsburg County: 1
And here is a look at the latest map …
(Click to view)
Nationally, as of Thursday afternoon at least 81,578 Americans have tested positive for the virus – which has killed at least 1,180 people in our nation, according to a database updated by The New York Times.
Worldwide, there have been 465,915 confirmed coronavirus cases in 199 countries or territories leading to 21,031 deaths – according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.
An emerging narrative? Questions about whether the virus was actually circulating in our nation long before coronavirus cases first began to be tracked.
On Thursday afternoon, our founding editor Will Folks penned a column describing an illness he experienced in late February – prompting a flood of replies on social media from readers who had similar experiences. That column also referenced a number of recent articles which delved into this topic further.
“There’s evidence the coronavirus started spreading in America earlier than people were really tracking it,” noted Lindsay Holmes in an article appearing on Huffington Post earlier this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review posed a question about whether mass lockdowns would
“What would be the value added for locking down all Americans rather than allowing most healthy Americans in most parts of the country to go back to work by next week with proper precautionary measures?” Horowitz asked. “Where is their evidence that, given the virus has already been in the country for months, further lockdown will save more lives and that the economic depression won’t cost more lives? In order to answer those questions, we need more information on how we got here.”
We agree … more information is needed.
This news outlet is committed to giving our readers the very latest, most relevant information we have regarding this unfolding global story – and all the stories we cover. To check out more of our coronavirus coverage, click on the link below …
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