As South Carolina enters a desperate situation with skyrocketing COVID-19 cases on the deadliest day so far in this pandemic, Gov. Henry McMaster did not issue any further restrictions to help prevent the virus from spreading.
At Wednesday’s press conference, McMaster instead reminded the Palmetto State what hangs in the balance if people continue to disregard the rules and coronavirus numbers continue to soar — high school and college football.
While McMaster reopened the vast majority of businesses across the state back in May, he did keep crowd-related businesses closed such as sports stadiums and concert venues.
“That is what is in the balance,” McMaster said about football. “I can not lift those prohibitions if these numbers continue to rise and the danger persists.”
As we reported yesterday, seven of South Carolina’s 15 largest cities passed mask mandates within the last week. More than a dozen other cities have also passed local ordinances enforcing masks.
McMaster again stated that a statewide mask mandate would not be enforceable and the state simply did not have enough law enforcement officials.
Dr. Linda Bell of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) urged South Carolinians to “make unselfish decisions to protect others” especially this holiday weekend.
Bell said cases began increasing in South Carolina soon after Memorial Day — the beginning of tourism season in South Carolina.
South Carolina health officials urged residents to stay home on the Fourth of July this weekend — especially those along the coast considering going to the beaches.
“The virus is rapidly spreading across the state, with some of the largest increases in our coastal communities,” Dr. Joan Duwve, DHEC Public Health Director, said in a press release this week.
At Wednesday’s press conference, however, McMaster bragged about South Carolina’s thriving tourism.
“The good news in all of this is South Carolina is a great state (for) tourism… a lot of people want to come here,” McMaster said.
Surging Cases, Hospitalizations, and Now Deaths
South Carolina suffered its deadliest day so far in the pandemic with 24 COVID-19 deaths reported. That’s the highest amount of daily deaths recorded so far in the pandemic. It was also the third of the last five days with deaths recorded in the double digits.
“Eighteen of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Charleston (5), Dillon (1), Fairfield (1), Florence (2), Greenville (1), Horry (1), Lancaster (1), Laurens (1), Lexington (1), Orangeburg (3), and Spartanburg (1) counties, and five of the deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals from Richland (1), Laurens (1), Berkeley (1), Horry (1), and Charleston (1) counties, and one death occurred in a young adult from Charleston County (1),” SCDHEC said in its Wednesday release.
COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to surge across the Palmetto State.
On Wednesday, 1,160 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.
It’s the 16th consecutive day officials have reported record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Just one week ago, South Carolina reported 831 hospitalizations. One month ago, 450 were hospitalized from the virus.
Take a look…
“As of this morning, 3,035 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,620 are in use, which is a 71.52% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,620 inpatient beds currently used, 1,021 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19,” SCDHEC officials said Wednesday.
South Carolina officials said Friday that there is a plan to make room for more hospital beds that will go into effect when the state reaches an 80-percent occupancy rate.
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.
“We must get these escalating numbers under much better control,” Bell said Wednesday.
Now, South Carolina is among a few states leading the nation in new cases per capita. And this isn’t due to increased testing.
The percentage of positive case per test has also been moving upward, another alarming sign that COVID-19 isn’t anywhere near contained in the Palmetto State.
On Wednesday, the percent positive among those tested was 19%.
State health officials announced an additional 1,497 coronavirus cases Wednesday. South Carolina reported more positive COVID-19 cases in the last 4 days (5,924) than it did in the entire month of May (5,888).
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