South Carolina has gone 27 days with at least 20 coronavirus patients dying each day, the latest data from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control shows.
Among the data released on Thursday, DHEC noted 44 people had died of COVID-19. Projections posted by the department indicate that over 3,600 COVID-19 patients will likely die by December.
The 44 additional deaths means that at least 20 deaths — and often 40 or more — had been reported every day from July 9 through Aug. 4. With several late and unconfirmed reports added to the toll each day, the six known deaths that occurred Wednesday and were reported Thursday can be expected to multiply. The 44 deaths reported was the 12th most reported in a single day.
Hospitals also are dealing with a steady flow of patients who need to stay overnight, in ICU beds or even on ventilators as professionals treat their symptoms.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of tests was the lowest it's been in 41 days and the seven-day rolling average of new confirmed cases was at a 39-day low.
DHEC also said it plans to continue increasing testing opportunities throughout the Palmetto State. As of Thursday, 114 mobile sites were scheduled through September, and 224 permanent testing sites remain in place, swabbing people who may have been exposed or who report symptoms.
For a list of testing sites, go to scdhec.gov/covid19testing.
With continued community spread and increased testing, authorities said they expect to log 101,276 cases by week's end.
Number of new cases reported: 1,295
Total number of cases in S.C.: 96,132, plus 665 probable deaths
Number of new deaths reported: 44
Total number of deaths in S.C.: 1,863, plus 80 probable deaths
Number of hospitalized patients: 1,492
Percent of tests that were positive: 19.7 percent
Total number of tests in S.C.: 812,013
Which areas are hardest hit?
Greenville County led the state in new cases on Thursday, with 139 positive tests. Richland County logged 112, while Charleston counted 89.
What's happening in the tri-county region?
In addition to the 89 new cases counted in Charleston County, Berkeley reported 33 new cases and Dorchester logged 58.
Six Charleston, five Dorchester and two Berkeley residents' deaths were reported Thursday. Officials are also determining whether one Berkeley and two Charleston patients who died had COVID-19.
Of the 44 deaths confirmed on Thursday, four were 35 to 64 years old and 40 were 65 or older. They'd lived in Anderson, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Jasper, Lanccaster, Laurens, Lexington, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Spartanburg, Sumter and York counties.
Authorities are investigating to determine whether nine more new deaths — in Anderson, Berkeley, Charleston, Florence, Greenville, Horry and Spartanburg counties — were COVID-19 related.
DHEC reported that 1,492 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Thursday. Of these, 356 were in the ICU beds and 276 were on ventilators.
What do experts say?
Officials continue to urge basic precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus: social distancing, wearing a mask in public, avoiding group gatherings, regularly washing hands and staying home when sick.