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SC encourages more people to test for COVID-19; percent of positive tests still high

DHEC logs 420 new cases, 13 deaths

  • Updated
COVID-19 Coronavirus Testing in Lab (copy)

A note on one of the testing instruments lets lab workers at the Medical University of South Carolina know the instrument is ready, empty, sanitized and prepped for COVID-19 test samples to be run through. File/Sarah Pack/MUSC/Provided

South Carolina reported fewer than 450 new coronaviruses cases Sunday, and less than 10 percent of cases tested for the day's report were positive.

The state's average for the week was 12.4 percent of tests receiving a positive result for the virus, according to data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Researchers say a 5 percent positive rate indicates the virus' spread is slowing. On Sunday, DHEC said that 9.2 percent of 4,566 tests came back positive for the day's tally.

DHEC recommends people get tested once per month if they come into close contact with others in the community.

As of Sunday, there were 328 mobile testing events scheduled through Oct. 31, along with 236 permanent testing facilities. Visit to find a testing site in your area.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 420, a 166 percent increase from the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Total cases in S.C.: 134,494, plus 3,214 probable cases

New deaths reported: 13

Total deaths in S.C.: 3,028, plus 171 probable deaths

Hospitalized patients: 733

Percent of positive tests, 7-day average: 12.4 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus' spread is slowing, researchers say.

The best of health, hospital and science coverage in South Carolina, delivered to your inbox weekly.

Total tests in S.C.: 1,229,227

Hardest-hit areas

The top three South Carolina counties for new coronavirus cases on Sunday were: Richland, 90, Greenville, 39, and Lexington, 27.

What about the tri-county?

Charleston County had 23 new cases, while Berkeley had 10 and Dorchester had nine. 


Of the 13 new deaths, 11 were elderly patients aged 65 and older, according to DHEC. Two middle-aged patients, aged 35 to 64, also died. They resided in Chesterfield, Dillon, Florence, Greenville, Lancaster, Newberry, Pickens, Richland, Williamsburg and York counties.


Of 826 coronavirus patients who were hospitalized as of Sunday, DHEC said 203 were in intensive care and 123 were on ventilators.

What do experts say?

Authorities continue to urge the public to take precautions like wearing a mask in public, washing hands frequently and social distancing. They also urge anyone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to the virus to be tested.

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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