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SC confirms more than 4,000 total coronavirus deaths, nears 200,000 confirmed cases

DHEC logs 1,374 new cases, 23 deaths

  • Updated
MUSC Health respiratory specimen collection site (copy)

Jessica Allen (left) helps Brittany Kerce put on one of three sets of gloves, part of the protocol for donning personal protective equipment. South Carolina surpassed 4,000 confirmed deaths related to the coronavirus on Tuesday. File/Sarah Pack/MUSC/Provided

South Carolina surpassed 4,000 confirmed deaths related to the coronavirus on Tuesday.

More than 20 new deaths were reported on Tuesday alone. Another 303 deaths in total are being investigated by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

In addition, the state is close to recording 200,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

A high percentage of daily tests are returning positive results for COVID-19, indicating community transmission of the virus remains widespread. Out of the 10,407 tests conducted for Tuesday's report, 13.2 percent came back positive.

The virus continues to be active in the state's long-term care facilities. While they represent about 6 percent of confirmed cases, the facilities have had nearly four in 10 of South Carolina's deaths.

There have been 11,566 confirmed coronavirus cases in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities: 7,459 residents and 4,107 staff workers, according to DHEC data.

So far, 1,554 residents have died from the virus, a mortality rate of 21 percent. Twenty-six workers also have died. Together, they account for 39 percent of deaths in the state, the data released Tuesday shows.

Of the 685 facilities DHEC monitored, the virus has been found in 414. There are active outbreaks at 136 of them.

Some type of visitation — indoor, outdoor or both — is allowed at 458 facilities; 210 do not allow it; and 17 did not report.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 1,374, which is 770 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close. 

Total cases in S.C.: 196,330, plus 12,900 probable cases

New deaths reported: 23

Total deaths in S.C.: 4,010 confirmed, 303 probable

Total tests in S.C.: 2,570,772

Hospitalized patients: 873

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Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 13.3 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus’ spread is slowing, researchers say.

Hardest-hit areas

The top South Carolina counties for new coronavirus cases on Tuesday were Greenville, 218; York, 141; and Richland, 94.

What about tri-county?

Charleston County reported 66 new cases, Berkeley logged 28 and Dorchester reported 29.

Deaths

Of the 23 new deaths reported, one was a young adult patient aged 18 to 34. Five were middle-aged patients aged 35 to 64, and 17 were elderly patients 65 or older.

They lived in Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Orangeburg, Richland, Spartanburg and York counties.

Hospitalizations

Of the 873 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, 211 were in intensive care and 83 were on ventilators.

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.

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

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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