For the twelfth consecutive day, South Carolina officials reported record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations.
On Saturday, 908 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. One month ago, 398 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 in South Carolina.
Perhaps more alarming — South Carolina also reported a record-breaking amount of new coronavirus cases (1,599 ) and percent of positive tests (19.6%). It also recorded one of its worst days for deaths from the virus with 15 COVID-19 deaths.
“As of this morning, 2,778 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,728 are in use, which is a 73.56% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,728 inpatient beds currently used, 908 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19,” SCDHEC said Saturday.
McMaster said Friday that the state will implement a plan to make space in the hospitals and possibly issue a mandate for hospitals to cancel elective surgeries if the situation worsens. State officials said Friday that they are waiting for South Carolina to hit an 80-percent occupancy threshold before they start making room for more patients.
Between the Midlands, Pee Dee, Upstate, and Lowcountry regions, the Pee Dee has the highest hospital bed occupancy rate at 78 percent. Anderson County had the highest hospital bed occupancy rate on Friday at 94.7 percent, followed by Spartanburg County at 87.3 percent.
Saturday’s hospitalizations represent a 117 percent increase from May’s average (417) and a 50 percent increase from June’s average so far.
South Carolina was one of the last states to issue a stay at home order and among the first states to lift COVID-19 lockdowns and open businesses, beginning on May 4.
Now, South Carolina is among a few states leading the nation in new cases per capita.
In fact, South Carolina reported more positive COVID-19 cases in the last 5 days (6,159) than it did in the entire month of May (5,888).
For a week straight, South Carolina has been a top 5 state for new cases per capita.
The recent surge is not due to the state’s expanded testing efforts.
The percentage of positive case per test also been moving upward, another alarming sign that COVID-19 isn’t anywhere near contained in South Carolina.
The only metric that hasn’t moved upwards has been the daily death count. We will be watching that closely as deaths typically lag behind hospitalizations and new cases.
Among the 15 South Carolina residents who died from COVID-19 on Saturday, “the confirmed deaths occurred in 10 elderly individuals from Bamberg (1), Cherokee (1), Dillon (1), Florence (1), Greenville (1), Greenwood (1), Hampton (1), Horry (1), Lexington (2), and Marion (1) counties, and five middle-aged individuals from Greenville (1), Horry (1), Lancaster (1), Orangeburg (1), and Sumter (1) counties. The probable deaths occurred in an elderly individual from Greenwood County (1), and an individual whose age category is still being determined from Spartanburg County (1),” SCDHEC said.
So far this month, South Carolina has averaged about eight deaths per day, which is the same as May’s daily average, but up from April which averaged 6 deaths per day.
The recovery rate for those who have tested positive for coronavirus in South Carolina is 80 percent. Roughly 87 percent of cases so far in South Carolina have not required hospitalization.
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