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SCDHEC Warns Young Adults Of Surging COVID-19 Cases as Hospitalizations Again Hit Record High

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For the eighth day in a row, COVID-19 hospitalizations in South Carolina have increased Friday as state health officials warn young adults to take the virus seriously.

On Wednesday,  660 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across South Carolina, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). This is the highest number reported since the state began tracking the metric in early May.

Wednesday’s reported coronavirus hospitalizations represent a 23 percent increase compared to the previous 14-day average and a 51-percent increase from the average daily hospitalizations reported in May.

Take a look….

“As of this morning, 3,019 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,461 are in use, which is a 71.19% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,461 inpatient beds currently used, 660 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19,” SCDHEC reported Friday.

South Carolina has been named in several national news articles recently as one of a handful of states seeing increasing hospitalization numbers. Specifically, Vox named it one of “8 states that experts worry are the new Covid-19 hot spots” due to increasing cases, test positivity rates, and hospitalizations.

South Carolina was one of the first states to lift COVID-19 lockdowns and open businesses, beginning on May 4.

Adding to the concern showing South Carolina is headed in a grim direction — the state reported 18 COVID-19 related deaths on Friday, the second highest ever reported in this pandemic.

One of those 18 deaths was a young adult from Spartanburg county.

Young people warned

Young adults between the ages of 21-30 are now the most likely age group to get COVID-19 in South Carolina, after a surge in reported cases over the last few weeks. That age group accounts for 18 percent of the COVID-19 cases

Teenagers now account for 7 percent of the confirmed cases.

 “The increases that we’re seeing serve as a warning that young adults and youth are not immune to COVID-19,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician consultant, in the latest news release. “They also tell us that younger South Carolinians are not taking social distancing seriously.”

SCDHEC said their data reflects a national trend showing a growing number of young people getting coronavirus in recent weeks.

“While it is true that most youth and younger adults with COVID-19 only experience a mild illness, that is not true for all,” Traxler said in the news release.  “In addition, it’s important to remember that even with mild or no symptoms you can spread the disease to those around you – your friends, teammates, and family. We’re calling on our younger generation of South Carolinians to be leaders in their communities by taking actions to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

It is far less likely for those under 40 to die from COVID-19, however.

Increasing Cases

SCDHEC announced 1,089 new cases Friday, setting yet-another record high this week for COVID-19 — which is increasing at higher rates than most of the country.

Take a look at the daily cases reported since March 6. Today’s total was more than three times the May average for daily cases.

For the past 16 days, South Carolina officials have reported more than 350 daily COVID-19 cases. Keep in mind, before May 30, South Carolina hadn’t reported more than 300 new daily cases ever.

In April, South Carolina averaged 170 COVID-19 cases per day. In May, that number jumped to 190 cases per day. So far in June, that number has surged to an average of 572 new coronavirus cases per day.

The recent surge is not due to the state’s expanded testing. South Carolina still ranked 39th in the nation this week when it comes to coronavirus testing per capita, according to data from The Covid Tracking Project.

The percentage of positive case per test has also been ticking upward, another alarming sign that COVID-19 isn’t anywhere near contained in South Carolina.

COVID19 Percent Positive 14 Day Molecular - 6-19-2020

On Thursday, 16.1 percent of tests had positive results. This is yet another record-breaking number for COVID-19 in South Carolina.

In total, more than 22,600 have tested positive for COVID-19 in South Carolina and 639 people have died.

On Friday, “nine of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Chesterfield (1), Colleton (1), Greenville (1), Horry (3), Lancaster (1), Orangeburg (1), and Spartanburg (1) counties. Eight occurred in middle-aged individuals from Charleston (2), Greenville (2), Horry (1), Newberry (1), Orangeburg (1), and Sumter (1) counties, and one death was a young adult from Spartanburg County.”

The recovery rate for those who have tested positive for coronavirus has decreased in the last week, dropping four percentage points from 83 percent last Monday to 79 percent this week.

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