For the first time in more than two months, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster held a press conference to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, McMaster said he would not be issuing any further restrictions as COVID-19 cases continued to climb in South Carolina and announced an executive order to provide South Carolina public schools with rapid COVID-19 tests.
The tests will be available the week after Thanksgiving for students and teachers at South Carolina public schools, McMaster said. They will be issued by school nurses in a drive-thru style to any students or faculty with symptoms.
South Carolina has drastically improved COVID-19 testing availability since the last spike this summer. Free testing locations are set up across the state (find your testing location here). Health experts recommend that everyone get a COVID-19 test at least once a month.
“Test before turkey!” McMaster said at least four times during the press conference, stressing the importance of getting a COVID-19 test before gathering at Thanksgiving.
If you decide gather at Thanksgiving, McMaster recommended to “be like the first Thanksgiving,” and eat outside if possible. He said to gather in small groups if you must and practice social distancing.
“You don’t get the virus online, so do your shopping that way,” McMaster said while giving random COVID-19 tips for the holidays.
Asked specifically if South Carolina will see any lockdowns like we did in March and April, McMaster said no.
“We’re doing things different from other states,” McMaster said, adding that unemployment numbers are decreasing in South Carolina. “We will not close…it is important for businesses to stay open.”
The press conference was called just days after S.C. senator Dick Harpootlian, of Columbia, blasted McMaster in the pages of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper and ripped him on FITSNews.
Harpootlian accused McMaster and his political patron – U.S. president Donald Trump – of spreading ignorance about the science of the virus instead of encouraging citizens to take protective measures.
“Those people don’t believe in masks because (Trump) doesn’t believe in them,” Harpootlian told us. “Go to Greenville, Spartanburg, Pickens counties – and to some extent Horry county – that’s where the cases are climbing because that’s where no one is wearing masks.”
McMaster has been repeatedly blasted for hypocrisy on this issue – encouraging citizens to wear masks but declining to do so himself.
He has also declined to issue a statewide mask mandate, leaving those decisions up to local municipalities.
Here are the latest South Carolina COVID-19 numbers from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
New Cases: 1,410
Total Cases: 189,251
Percent Positive: 14.5%
New Deaths: 17
Total Deaths: 3,924
To read our latest coverage of the Covid-19 situation nationally, check out this article from earlier today.
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