Coronavirus cases in South Carolina shot up to their highest level in ten days on Sunday – indicating the first wave of the virus is far from over. Meanwhile, the death toll connected to the pandemic also inched higher in the Palmetto State.
According to the latest release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), there were 237 new confirmed or presumed positive coronavirus cases since the last batch of data was released on Saturday.
That was the highest daily total since a record 276 cases were announced on April 16, 2020 – and marked the fifth-highest single-day total since the agency first began announcing cases on March 6, 2020.
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The latest data brought the statewide total to 5,490 confirmed or presumed positive cases since SCDHEC first began tracking the outbreak fifty-one days ago. The agency also updated information regarding negative tests – announcing that a total of 45,271 negative tests had been conducted so far in South Carolina by public and private laboratories.
SCDHEC also announced eight additional fatalities related to the virus – bringing the statewide death toll to 174 (again, since officials began tracking the outbreak). Of these recently announced fatalities, six were elderly residents of Clarendon (2), Darlington (1), Greenville (2) and Richland (1) counties – while two were middle-aged individuals from Colleton and Greenville counties.
For comparison purposes, the 2017-2018 flu season – which was a “severe” season, according to SCDHEC – killed 292 South Carolinians.
How many Palmetto State residents will ultimately die as result of exposure to this virus? We don’t know, but as of this writing the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) indicate 283 South Carolinians are likely to succumb to it – or at least its first wave. That is roughly one-quarter of the 1,100 deaths IHME originally called for, however.
Fifty (50) of the newly announced cases were located in Richland county – the home of the state capital of Columbia, S.C. Richland county continued to lead the state in total cases (837) and is tied for the most deaths related to the virus with nineteen.
Greenville county – the most populated region of the Palmetto Upstate – has 609 reported cases and nineteen deaths related to the virus. Forty-three (43) of those cases and three of those deaths were reported on Sunday.
As for projections moving forward, SCDHEC is still expecting to see 6,206 total cases by May 2 – which would translate into approximately 102 new positive cases per day between now and then. The agency is further projecting the state will reach 6,953 total cases by May 9 – which is an average of 104 new positive cases per day between now and then.
Originally, SCDHEC projected there would be 8,677 confirmed or presumed positive cases by May 2.
Nationally, as of Sunday evening there were 955,489 confirmed coronavirus cases across America and 48,973 deaths attributed to the virus, according to a database maintained by The New York Times. Globally, there were 2.96 million confirmed cases and more than 206,000 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins.
The coronavirus continues to confound medical experts due to a lack of widespread, accurate and comprehensive testing. Simply put, there is little consensus regarding how many people have the virus (or have had it previously) and what its future trajectory will be. It also continues to present itself in new and unpredictable ways – making it incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat, let alone assess in the hope of finding an eventual cure.
Speaking of testing, as of Sunday evening South Carolina ranked No. 45 nationally in testing – with only 1,037 completed tests per 100,000 citizens. Only Texas (1,007 tests per 100,000 citizens), Ohio (997), Arizona (952), Virginia (910) and Kansas (903) fared worse.
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