Confirmed cases of the 2019-2020 coronavirus continued to mount on Thursday as South Carolina remained on a partial lockdown in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, South Carolina remains roughly two-and-a-half weeks away from the peak of the virus’ first wave, per the latest projections.
According to data released Thursday by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), there were 241 new confirmed or presumed positive coronavirus cases in South Carolina since data was last released on Wednesday. That brings the statewide total to 2,792 confirmed cases since SCDHEC first began tracking the outbreak early last month.
SCDHEC also announced that four additional South Carolinians had passed away as a result of being exposed to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 67 (again, since the state has been tracking the spread of the virus).
According to the agency, all four of the newly announced deaths involved “elderly patients with underlying health conditions.”
In addition to the newly released positive tests, SCDHEC announced it had conducted 9,065 negative tests in its public health laboratory. Along with the 15,510 negative tests conducted by private laboratories, the agency is now reporting a total of 24,575 negative tests conducted statewide.
South Carolina remains among the bottom dozen or so states in terms of the percentage of its population being tested, however it has made strides from two weeks ago – when it ranked No. 48 nationally on this metric.
In the latest batch of coronavirus results, SCDHEC reported 45 additional cases in Richland county – home of the state capital of Columbia, S.C. Richland county now has 417 confirmed or presumed positive cases – easily the highest number in the state. The populous Midlands county also leads the state with 10 coronavirus-related fatalities.
Charleston county ranked second with 313 confirmed or presumed positive cases, although the Lowcountry’s most populous region has reported only one confirmed coronavirus related death. SCDHEC announced five new cases in Charleston county on Thursday.
Greenville county, the most populous region in the Upstate, now has 254 confirmed or presumed positive cases with three deaths related to exposure to the virus. SCDHEC announced 31 new Greenville county cases on Thursday.
Kershaw county, the original epicenter of the outbreak, had five new cases announced by SCDHEC Thursday. It now has 170 positive cases with three deaths – however it continues to lead the state in terms of the percentage of its population infected by the virus.
To view the spread of reported cases across the state, here is the latest “heat map” released by SCDHEC …
(Click to view)
There are now ten counties in the state with more than 100 confirmed or presumed positive cases: Richland (417), Charleston (313), Greenville (254), Beaufort (184), Kershaw (170), Lexington (161), Spartanburg (139), Sumter (126), York (120) and Horry (106).
SCDHEC has – to its credit – dramatically expanded the available information related to the cases it is following. However, as we frequently remind our readers, this data does not represent the true extent of the virus’ spread across the Palmetto State.
According to the agency, the median age of reported positive cases is 51 years – with cases impacting patients as old as 101 years and as young as two months. A slight majority of cases (53 percent) are female, while a similarly slight majority are white (54 percent).
Some good news? Of the positive cases the agency has reported, only 25 percent of them have required hospitalization.
Also, according to SCDHEC, as of Thursday morning there were 5,416 hospital beds available in the state with 6,215 beds utilized – a 53.4 percent statewide hospital bed utilization rate.
In other words, the Palmetto State continues to be well-positioned to deal with the projected peak of the first wave of this outbreak – which should come sometime between April 22-27, per the latest data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington.
IHME projections now show the virus killing 470 South Carolinians prior to June 1. Previously, projections had pegged the Palmetto State death toll as high as 1,093. For comparison purposes, there were 292 deaths in South Carolina during 2017-2018 flu season – the most recent season for which complete data is available. According to SCDHEC, that was a “severe season.”
IHME is projecting 60,415 coronavirus deaths between now and the middle of June – well below its original estimates (and well below the 250,000 deaths White House officials warned the nation to expect just last week).
Officially, as of Thursday afternoon at least 450,682 Americans had tested positive for the virus, according to a database maintained by The New York Times. Of those, an estimated 16,231 had died as result of being exposed to it – including 7,067 coronavirus-related fatalities in the state of New York.
Worldwide, as of Thursday afternoon there were nearly 1.6 million confirmed cases and more than 94,800 deaths, according to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins. The latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and just over 85,500 deaths.
This news outlet is committed to providing our readers with 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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