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Coronavirus hospitalizations surpass 1,000; more SC cities pass mask ordinances

DHEC reports 1,320 cases, 4 deaths

  • Updated
testing.jpg

Teresa Link (center) hands a contaminated swab to Shavon Wigfall as they test for the coronavirus at a Roper St. Francis drive-thru testing site on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston on March 30, 2020. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

Total hospitalizations for the coronavirus in the state exceeded 1,000 for the first time on Monday, state health officials said.

In addition to more than 1,300 new cases reported, officials with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control are investigating 98 probable cases of the virus statewide.

With cases on the rise, more than 10 cities and towns across South Carolina, including Charleston and Columbia, have passed ordinances enforcing the use of masks in some public settings.

Many of the ordinances require people to wear masks in grocery stores or pharmacies, and some require them in restaurants or shops. More local governments are expected to follow the trend. The state has not issued such a mandate.

Last week, nearly 50,000 people were tested across South Carolina. Over the next two weeks, DHEC projects that at least 14,000 new COVID-19 cases will be confirmed.

Statewide numbers

Number of new cases reported: 1,320

Total number of cases in S.C.: 34,546

Number of new deaths reported: 4

Total number of deaths in S.C.: 717

Number of hospitalized patients: 1,032

Percent of tests that were positive: 15.5 percent

Total number of tests in S.C.: 408,394

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Which areas are hardest-hit?

Charleston County again led the state in new confirmed infections on Monday, with 278 cases. Horry County followed with 165 cases, then Greenville County with 153.

What’s happening in the tri-county region?

The tri-county continued to see high coronavirus case numbers on Monday. In addition to 278 cases in Charleston County, Berkeley counted 41 and Dorchester saw 49.

Deaths

The four newly deceased patients were elderly individuals living in Chesterfield, Richland, Anderson and Beaufort counties.

Officials are working to confirm another three deaths related to suspected coronavirus infections.

How to stop the spread

Medical experts and government officials have begged people to wear masks as cases spike. While Gov. Henry McMaster declined to issue a statewide mask-wearing mandate, several cities have enacted ordinances within city limits.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control also asked that South Carolinians avoid crowds, stay 6 feet away from others outside their households, and regularly wash their hands.

What do experts say?

Projections posted to DHEC's website Saturday included new estimates of deaths expected through September with and without the impact of statewide precautions.

The projections, calculated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, indicate that immediate universal masking would curb infection rates in mid-July, leaving about 922 South Carolinian patients dead. Without statewide face coverings, scientists expect about 1,172 residents to die by Oct. 1.

Reach Fleming Smith at 843-937-5591. Follow her on Twitter at @MFlemingSmith.

Fleming Smith covers crime and public safety for the Charleston area. A native Georgian, she previously covered breaking news and features for The Wall Street Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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