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SC Coronavirus Update: Health Officials Report Surge In Testing Numbers

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After two consecutive days of declining testing numbers, South Carolina health officials reported a large surge of completed coronavirus tests on Thursday.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) reported 6,669 additional completed tests on Thursday, according to a news release. That’s more more than twice as many completed tests as announced on Tuesday (3,171) and Wednesday (2,726).

In total, South Carolina has tested 102,535 people for COVID-19 and 8,189 (or about 8 percent) of those tests were positive.

While testing numbers surged, the number of positive COVID-19 cases slightly increased. SCDHEC officials reported 172 new cases and nine additional deaths.

“Five of those deaths occurred in elderly individuals in Fairfield (2), Greenwood (1), Laurens (1), and Lexington (1) counties, and four of the deaths occurred in a middle-aged individual in Clarendon (2), Pickens (1) and Richland (1) counties,” the release said.

Take a look at the number of daily reported cases and deaths since early March…

In May so far, South Carolina has averaged about 155 coronavirus cases per day, which is slightly down from 170 in April (when tests were significantly less available).

Last week, Gov. Henry McMaster promised to expand COVID-19 testing in South Carolina and to test 2 percent of the population by June.

Until today, the testing numbers have not supported that promise — for the past few weeks South Carolina has in fact ranked at the bottom of the barrel (between No. 45 and No. 49) in COVID-19 testing per capita.

The hospitalization rate of COVID-19 patients in South Carolina has remained fairly steady with about 20 percent of patients requiring hospitalization. Approximately 86 percent of COVID-19 patients in South Carolina have recovered, according the SCDHEC.

“As of this morning, 3,301 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,077 are in use, which is a 68.19% statewide hospital bed utilization rate,” the release said. “Of the 7,077 inpatient beds currently used, 443 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.”

SCDHEC projects that South Carolina will have a seen a total of 10,493 positive COVID-19 cases by May 30.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has lowered its projected coronavirus death toll for the Palmetto State twice within the last week. According to the latest IHME projections, an estimated 469 South Carolinians will die in the first wave of the pandemic.

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