CHARLESTON, S.C. (WIS/WCSC) - During a meeting of the board of the Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday, officials announced 687 new COVID-19 cases in South Carolina.
That sets a new record for the number of cases reported in one day.
State health officials have also announced 13 more deaths on Thursday. Ten of the 13 deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Greenville, Florence, Spartanburg, Fairfield, Colleton, and Greenwood counties, and three in middle-aged individuals from Lexington, and Spartanburg counties.
Thursday’s update brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 16,441 and those who have died to 588.
Over the past three weeks, 40% of the state’s total number of cases have been diagnosed. The recent spike in cases is not just because of more testing, DHEC said.
While case numbers have increased, so has the percent positive. Percent positive refers to the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the number of tests being performed.
That rate has stayed over 12% during the past several days.
"As the number of tests being performed increases, so do the number of cases, we would expect that,” Dr. Joan Duwve, with DHEC, said. “However, that percent positive rate continues to increase, as well, which tells us that we are finding more real cases -- not just cases that were asymptomatic and not otherwise diagnosed.”
The number of new cases reported on Thursday by county are listed below.
Aiken (6), Abbeville (39), Anderson (7), Bamberg (3), Beaufort (24), Berkeley (20), Calhoun (1), Charleston (45), Chester (3), Chesterfield (7), Cherokee (1), Clarendon (9), Colleton (6), Darlington (8), Dillon (2), Dorchester (10), Edgefield (1), Fairfield (3), Florence (22), Georgetown (15), Greenville (125), Greenwood (36), Hampton (5), Horry (47), Jasper (2), Kershaw (8), Lancaster (10), Laurens (9), Lexington (52), Marion (4), Marlboro (5), Newberry (1), Oconee (6), Orangeburg (13), Pickens (14), Richland (69), Saluda (2), Spartanburg (9), Sumter (45), Williamsburg (8), York (21)
As of Wednesday, a total of 265,351 tests have been conducted in the state by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs.
The total number of individuals tested yesterday statewide was 4,791 and the percent positive was 14.3%., according to DHEC.
Since the state has mostly reopened, and Gov. Henry McMaster has stated lockdowns will not return, Duwve stressed the importance of people taking action to fight the spread of COVID-19.
The two things people can do are simple: social distance and wear a mask. Duwve said people just aren’t doing that, and that’s why cases are spiking.
“We all have work to do,” she said. “We need to lead by example.”
She said at this point in the outbreak, each person diagnosed will likely infect between two to four other people.
“So we will continue to see that rapid rise until we start practicing what we know can prevent the spread of this infection,” Duwve explained.
She also stressed people should stay home and get tested for the coronavirus if they have any of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- loss of smell
- vomiting, nausea and/or diarrhea
State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said Wednesday she is "more concerned about COVID-19 in South Carolina than I have ever been before.” In the past two weeks, Bell said South Carolina had posted its highest new daily case counts since the beginning of the pandemic.