South Carolina health officials announced a new single-day record of reported coronavirus cases on Friday, pushing the statewide total above 3,000. The death toll also inched higher as the Palmetto State eyed the peak of the pandemic – still more than two weeks away.
According to the latest data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), there were 274 additional confirmed or presumed positive coronavirus cases since the last batch of information was released on Thursday. That total – the highest the agency has reported in a single day – brought the statewide count to 3,065 confirmed cases since officials first began tracking the outbreak last month.
SCDHEC also reported that five additional South Carolinians had succumbed to the virus. That brings the statewide death toll to 72 – again, since government began tracking cases in early March.
Three of the newly reported deaths were described by the agency as “middle-aged individuals with underlying health conditions who were residents of Berkeley, Florence and Greenville counties.” The other two newly reported deaths were described as “elderly patients with underlying health conditions who were residents of Greenville county.”
Greenville – the most populous county in the Upstate – saw a big spike in new cases from yesterday’s data. Its 54 new confirmed or presumed positive cases put its running total at 308 – with six fatalities.
Only Richland county (452 cases, 10 fatalities) and Charleston county (328 cases, one fatality) have higher total case numbers.
As of this writing, there are now eleven counties reporting at least 100 coronavirus cases: Richland (452), Charleston (328), Greenville (308), Beaufort (186), Lexington (184), Kershaw (177), Spartanburg (150), Sumter (142), York (125), Horry (124) and Anderson (100).
Kershaw county – the original epicenter of the outbreak in the Palmetto State – continues to lead the state in terms of the percentage of its population infected by the virus. However, rural Clarendon county – which has reported 80 total cases and three deaths – is closing in on that deadly distinction.
Sparsely populated Clarendon’s per-100,000-citizen case number is currently 237.07 – and climbing – while Kershaw’s per-100,000-citizen case number is holding at 265.96.
Seven new cases were reported in Kershaw on Friday, while five new cases were reported in Clarendon.
To view the spread of the virus, here is the latest “heat map” provided by SCDHEC …
(Click to view)
In addition to the newly released positive tests, SCDHEC announced it had conducted 8,364 negative tests in its public health laboratory. Along with the 16,754 negative tests conducted by private laboratories, the agency is now reporting a total of 25,118 negative tests conducted statewide.
Given a recent uptick in testing, South Carolina now ranks ahead of seventeen states – having conducted nearly 550 tests per 100,000 citizens. Previously, it ranked ahead of only two states on this critical metric.
Still, as we have frequently noted, testing remains well below where it should be … and fails to take into account how many people likely had the virus before government started tracking it.
As SCDHEC was releasing its data, a widely watched coronavirus projection website updated its data to show a worsening outlook for the Palmetto State. According to the latest data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington, 572 South Carolinians are now expected to die as result of exposure to the virus – well above the 470 projected earlier in the week (but still well below the 1,090 Palmetto State deaths the IHME was originally predicting).
IHME also now expects the peak of the virus to pass over the state between April 25 and May 2, 2020 – which is later that the April 22-27 peak it was previously projecting (and well later than the national peak, which was projected as today – April 10, 2020).
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