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MUSC opens a free resource for SC residents to consult on coronavirus from home

Coronavirus press conference

Gov. Henry McMaster addresses the public the morning after two presumptive cases of coronavirus were confirmed Friday evening. Seanna Adcox/Staff

Following the news of two presumptive cases of coronavirus in South Carolina, one of the state's hospitals is opening a resource for residents of the state to consult with health experts from home. 

The resource offers an option to talk to a professional without immediately heading to a hospital or doctor's office. Anyone can use the free application via a phone, tablet or computer, leaders at the Medical University of South Carolina said Saturday. 

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said late Friday two patients tested positive at its labs, one in Kershaw County and another in Charleston County. 

DHEC is awaiting confirmation of the cases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the time being, state leaders are urging residents to go about their usual business.

Gov. Henry McMaster said the state has been prepared for weeks.

"This is precisely what we have been planning for," McMaster said. "There is no reason for alarm. We ask that people go about your daily lives.”

Both of the patients who tested presumably positive began having symptoms during the last week of February.

A woman in her 80s first went to the KershawHealth hospital in Camden. She was transferred yesterday to another facility in the Midlands. Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC's epidemiologist, did not specify which facility the woman is staying in. The woman is in quarantine at the hospital.

DHEC officials said Friday night they are not sure how the woman contracted COVID-19; she has no known travel history. She did not live in a nursing home, Bell said.

Karlin Ferguson, a spokeswoman for KershawHealth, said she could not release any more information about the woman. She said a number of hospital staff members who examined the patient are out of work and going through health officials' monitoring guidelines.

The other presumptive case is in an MUSC staff member. She fell ill after returning from a trip to Europe through the Charleston International Airport, and self-quarantined. She did not return to work at the Charleston hospital.

“She is a member of our MUSC family," Dr. David Cole, president of MUSC Health, said. “ She’s making the right decisions, and the system has been working.”

Cole said the woman "is doing quite well," and had mild symptoms for less than two days.

Adam Benson and Seanna Adcox contributed reporting.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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