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South Carolina Coronavirus Update: 151 New Cases, 925 Total Cases, 18 Deaths

Palmetto State’s health agency vows ramped up testing, faster results …

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Another day, another surge in confirmed or presumptive positive coronavirus in South Carolina. According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), it is tracking 151 additional cases – bringing the state’s total to 925.

The agency also announced that eighteen (18) South Carolinians had died as a result of complications related to the virus.

The 151 new cases represents the largest single-day spike since the state first began releasing data earlier this month.

Monday’s data showed a huge spike in new cases in Richland county – home to the state capital of Columbia, S.C. The forty (40) new cases announced in Richland made the county the new epicenter for the virus with 135 total cases – surpassing Charleston county (123 cases) and Kershaw county (99 cases), the original epicenter of the virus.

To view the county-by-county data, click on the map below …

(Click to view)

(Via: SCDHEC)

In addition to the new positive cases, SCDHEC announced its public laboratory had conducted 4,160 negative tests.

“We’re all in this together,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, a physician with the agency. “Today’s announcement is a stark reminder of the serious threat that COVID-19 poses to our families, friends, and communities. We encourage all South Carolinians to continue to listen to the guidance of our public health professionals and to, when possible, stay home and limit your close contact with others.”

As we have repeatedly pointed out, the daily data releases from SCDHEC do not provide a full picture of the extent to which the virus is spreading across the Palmetto State. Not all data from private labs is included, and SCDHEC has acknowledged that supply shortages have severely limited its testing capabilities.

These shortages – first reported by our news outlet early last week – were acknowledged by the agency last Thursday (March 26, 2020). On Monday, SCDHEC provided additional information about these shortages.

“Late last week, (SC)DHEC reported a backlog of specimens to be tested that had developed at (the agency) public health laboratory due to a nationwide shortage in the reagents (chemicals) required to perform testing,” the statement noted. “As of March 27, 2020, (SC)DHEC’s laboratory now has the necessary reagents. The lab is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. As of today, (SC)DHEC’s laboratory will resume a turnaround time of 24-48 hours once specimens are received at the lab.”

As we exclusively reported over the weekend, South Carolina ranks at the bottom of the national barrel in terms of the percentage of its citizens receiving tests. Additionally, we keep hearing from many South Carolinas who believe they had the virus long before governments in this country began tracking cases.

According to the latest projections, the virus is expected to peak in the Palmetto State in late April – a week or so after its national peak – and gradually wind down through the month of May. An estimated 1,043 South Carolinians are expected to die from the virus before it’s all said and done.

In an effort to lower that total as much as possible, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster is being encouraged to issue a limited home confinement – or “shelter in place” – order. This news outlet is not sold on the efficacy or enforceability of such an order, although given the shuttering of broad swaths of our state’s economy already we believe it makes sense for the governor to take such an action at this time.

McMaster has been roundly criticized for his administration’s uneven handling of the coronavirus crisis, however he received some high-profile support on Monday when powerful S.C. speaker of the House Jay Lucas defended him – and called out his detractors.

As of Monday afternoon there were 775,306 confirmed coronavirus cases around the world, including 159,184 cases in the United States, according to data published by Johns Hopkins. The hospital’s data showed 37,083 worldwide deaths.

Meanwhile, a database maintained by The New York Times showed 2,897 deaths in the United States related to complications from the virus.

-FITSNews

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