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SC adds over 4,600 new coronavirus cases, even as DHEC site doesn't show full data

DHEC counts 4,673 new cases, 42 more deaths

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Swabs used to test for COVID-19 are ready for patients at a Roper St. Francis drive-thru testing site on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston in March. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff 

South Carolina's coronavirus case and death numbers returned to their usual range on Wednesday, but the state's public health agency said numbers are still missing.

An internal systems error has affected the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for three days, according to the agency's website, leading to daily data releases that don't show the true scope of new cases and deaths.

The Palmetto State had averaged over 3,000 new cases and 30 deaths per day in January until the systems issue began. Wednesday's data, which showed over 4,600 new cases and 42 deaths, still doesn't show the full breadth of the pandemic, officials said.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 4,673, which is 2,859 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Total cases in S.C.: 332,990, plus 32,388 probable cases

New deaths reported: 42

Total deaths in S.C.: 5,402 confirmed, 509 probable

Total tests in S.C.: 4,119,470

Hospitalized patients: 2,466

Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 29.8 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus' spread is slowing, researchers say.

Hardest-hit areas

According to data from DHEC, the top counties for new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday were Greenville, 782, and Lexington and York, which each had 303.

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What about tri-county?

Charleston County reported 178 new cases, Berkeley had 84 and Dorchester logged 124.

Deaths

Twelve of the 42 new deaths reported Wednesday were patients aged 35 to 64, and the rest were 65 and older.

They lived in Aiken, Anderson, Beaufort, Charleston, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Colleton, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Lancaster, Lexington, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg and Union counties.

Hospitalizations

Of the 2,466 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, 475 were in intensive care and 277 were on ventilators. The average ICU occupancy of the state's hospitals was 85 percent.

What do experts say?

Authorities continue to urge South Carolinians to take precautions, such as wearing masks or other face coverings, social distancing and frequently washing hands.

They also urge anyone who believes they’ve been exposed to the virus or who is developing symptoms to get tested. Those out in the community or not able to socially distance should get tested monthly, DHEC advised.

The Medical University of South Carolina said it plans to offer rapid testing in the Charleston International Airport's daily parking garage from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.    

Go to scdhec.gov/findatest to find a testing site in your area.

Reach Sara Coello at 843-937-5705 and follow her on Twitter @smlcoello.

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