CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - State health officials have reported 1,481 new cases of COVID-19 and 39 additional deaths in South Carolina.
Greenville County had the most new reported cases on Saturday with 187.
“At this time, we are unable to report the number of hospital beds occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19, and the number of patients currently on ventilators,” DHEC said in their Saturday update.
DHEC says that these latest numbers may be underreported. DHEC said in a release Saturday that some of their data was missing from a major private laboratory.
The latest recovery data provided by DHEC shows 87% of 25,923 individuals, who the department has onset data on, have recovered from COVID-19 while 13% remain ill.
As of yesterday, a total of 610,429 tests have been conducted in the state. The total number of individual test results reported to DHEC yesterday statewide was 7,060 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 17.4%.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are asking South Carolinians to “Mask Up” as part of a new statewide campaign aimed at encouraging youth and young adults to embrace wearing a face mask in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to DHEC, in South Carolina, young adults between the ages of 21-30 currently make up 22% percent of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, and those ages 11-20 make up 11% of confirmed cases.
State health officials said this data follows national trends that indicate a growing number of young adults and youth are testing positive for COVID-19.
“Most of the virus spreads through the air in drops of moisture when the person contagious with the virus breaths, talks, coughs or sneezes,” said Dr. Michael Kacka, DHEC physician and medical consultant. “Wearing a mask over the nose and mouth collects and traps some of those droplets and reduces the amount of virus someone puts out into the air around them. It doesn’t filter out all of the virus, however, which is why social distancing is very important along with wearing masks. By reducing the amount of virus put out into the air, we reduce the chances that those sharing a space will encounter enough virus to become infected.”
“To help stop the spread in the Palmetto State, DHEC has created free, reliable COVID-19 mask content that anyone can share on social media to encourage their friends and followers to wear a face covering in public. Social media posts, graphics, and videos to be shared online can be found at scdhec.gov/staySCstrong,” DHEC said in a statement.
Saturday’s update brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state to 67,369, and those who have died to 1,117, according to DHEC. So far, there has been a total of 216 probable cases and 18 probable deaths, the state health agency reported.
The following is a breakdown provided by DHEC of total positive cases and total deaths in Lowcountry counties.
Thirty-three of the confirmed deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Aiken (1), Berkeley (2), Charleston (5), Cherokee (1), Chester (1), Chesterfield (1), Colleton (2), Darlington (1), Dillon (1), Dorchester (2), Florence (3), Greenville (5), Horry (1), Laurens (1), Lee (1), Marion (1), Orangeburg (1), Richland (1), Saluda (1), and Spartanburg (1) counties, and six of the confirmed deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals from Berkeley (1), Charleston (1), Dorchester (1), Horry (2), and Sumter (1) counties.
The number of new cases reported on Saturday, July 18 by county are listed below:
Abbeville (9), Aiken (54), Allendale (2), Anderson (52), Bamberg (9), Barnwell (7), Beaufort (59), Berkeley (67), Calhoun (3), Charleston (122), Cherokee (7), Chester (14), Chesterfield (7), Clarendon (15), Colleton (8), Darlington (7), Dorchester (52), Edgefield (4), Fairfield (5), Florence (20), Georgetown (8), Greenville (187), Greenwood (25), Hampton (6), Horry (50), Jasper (10), Kershaw (21), Lancaster (9), Laurens (21), Lee (1), Lexington (161), Marion (8), Marlboro (2), McCormick (2), Newberry (24), Oconee (34), Orangeburg (36), Pickens (43), Richland (162), Saluda (10), Spartanburg (48), Sumter (48), Union (4), Williamsburg (6), York (32)
DHEC released the following information on specific cases.
A confirmed case is an individual who had a confirmatory viral test performed by way of a throat or nose swab and that specimen tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive viral test, also called a PCR test or molecular test, alone is enough to classify a confirmed case.
- A probable case is an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test performed but has: epidemiologic evidence and clinical evidence of infection, or a positive antibody blood test and either epidemiologic evidence or clinical evidence. (A positive antibody test alone is currently not a reliable method for diagnosing a COVID-19 infection.)
- A confirmed death is someone whose death is related to COVID-19 and who tested positive with a confirmatory viral test for COVID-19.
- A probable death is an individual whose death certificate lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death but did not undergo confirmatory viral testing.
State health officials say evidence is increasing about the high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious.
“This places everyone at risk of getting the virus or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else,” DHEC officials said.
Recommended steps that the public can take include:
- Practicing social distancing
- Wearing a mask in public
- Avoiding group gatherings
- Regularly washing your hands
- Staying home if sick