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South Carolina Tops 5,000 COVID-19 Cases, Recovery Rate Slightly Improves

The latest numbers from SCDHEC…

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While more than 5,000 South Carolinians have tested positive for coronavirus in South Carolina, at least 73 percent of those people have recovered from the illness, according to state health experts.

According to the latest release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), there were 168 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight new deaths since Thursday. A total of 157 COVID-19 patients have died in South Carolina.

Among the eight residents who died from coronavirus in South Carolina Friday,”six (were) elderly individuals from Aiken (1), Beaufort (1), Charleston (1), Dorchester (1), Greenville (1), and Kershaw (1) counties, and two middle-aged individuals from Greenville (1) and Lexington (1) counties.” according to SCDHEC.

Health experts said the 27 percent of people who tested positive are still “experiencing some phase of the illness.”

South Carolina officials estimate that about 78 percent of COVID-19 patients in the state did not require hospitalization for their illness.

About 56 percent of the hospital beds in South Carolina were occupied as of Friday — which is up about 2 percentage points from a week ago.

The number of cases and deaths per day in South Carolina have been anything but consistent in the last week. Here’s a breakdown of the amount of daily coronavirus cases reported in South Carolina since its first case March 6 — showing the ups and downs of daily counts.

SCDHEC’s projections have shifted fairly dramatically since last Friday. Originally, it predicted South Carolina would have 8,677 total cases by May 2. Now it shows 6,206 cases by May 2 and nearly 7,000 COVID-19 cases by May 9.

According to the the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a leading model for COVID-19 used by SCDHEC. South Carolina has possibly moved past the projected peak of the virus, which they are now saying was on April 9 for deaths and April 23 for hospital resources.

According to IHME, 283 South Carolinians are expected to die from the coronavirus in total between March and August. This projection is dramatically down from the estimated 680 deaths projected just yesterday.

IHME experts said that after June 8 “relaxing social distancing may be possible with containment strategies” in South Carolina.

It’s important to note IHME modeling – which has been criticized – has shifted dramatically in the last few weeks and could change again.

State health officials also released new information on coronavirus in healthcare facilities Friday. SCDHEC reports there are 56 nursing home/ rehab/ assisted living facilities with at least one COVID-19 case in South Carolina and 435 total cases from those facilities.

State officials say 378 healthcare workers in South Carolina have tested positive for COVID-19.

Richland County — the epicenter of the pandemic for weeks now — recorded an additional 29 new cases on Friday. Richland is the second most populous county in South Carolina and is home to the state capital of Columbia. Richland now has 766 reported cases, but SCDHEC estimates around 4,705 positive coronavirus cases (assuming several cases for every reported case).

“Regardless of the number of reported cases within an area, all South Carolinians should take seriously, the recommended precautions for protecting against this disease,” SCDHEC officials have warned.

Greenville County — the most populous in the state — has the second highest cases with 557 cases (3,422 estimated).

The Hilton Head Island region is one of the most vulnerable areas in the United States for hospitals being overwhelmed by a COVID-19 outbreak, according to a recent news analysis by Five Thirty Eight

Five Thirty Eight analyzed the number of at-risk residents in metropolitan areas across the United States, combined with the number of hospitals and ICU beds in those regions for its study.

“By that measure, one of the most vulnerable regions for which we have data is the Hilton Head Island metropolitan area, where about 63 percent of adults are at high risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and there are approximately 3,900 high-risk individuals for every ICU bed,” author Likhitha Butchireddygari wrote in the Five Thirty Eight story.

On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster cancelled his previous order issued three weeks ago that closed public access points to beaches across the state in the COVID-19 pandemic.

McMaster also issued an order to reopen some of the “non-essential” businesses that he closed three weeks ago, he said in Monday’s press conference.

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