South Carolina logged over 30 more coronavirus deaths Wednesday — 50 percent more than the average number of deaths in the previous seven days and higher than the state's usual daily number.
One of the 32 victims whose death was announced Wednesday by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control had died in August, but the rest passed away in October. Experts have warned that the virus may kill more people as the weather cools and people shelter together indoors.
For the previous seven days, the Palmetto State averaged under 20 deaths per day, according to data maintained by The Post and Courier, with no more than 20 deaths per day since Oct. 23. DHEC did not explain why the number of deaths had climbed so much above the seven-day average.
New cases reported: 636, which is 303 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.
Total cases in S.C.: 164,802, plus 7,777 probable cases
New deaths reported: 32
Total deaths in S.C.: 3,634 confirmed, 242 probable
Total tests in S.C.: 1,936,739
Hospitalized patients: 810
Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 12.6 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus’ spread is slowing, researchers say.
The top South Carolina counties for new coronavirus cases Wednesday were Greenville, 90; Anderson, 57; and Richland, 54.
What the about tri-county?
Charleston County had 27 new cases while Berkeley had nine and Dorchester had 14, according to DHEC.
Another Berkeley County resident has died after contracting the virus, DHEC reported on Wednesday.
Of the 32 new deaths, four victims were aged 35 to 64, and 27 were at least 65 years old. One patient, from Richland County, was a young adult aged 18 to 34.
They lived in Abbeville, Allendale, Berkeley, Colleton, Greenville, Horry, Kershaw, Lexington, Marion, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union and York counties.
On Wednesday, DHEC reported 810 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 201 in intensive care and 95 on ventilators.
What do experts say?
Authorities continue to urge South Carolinians to take precautions like wearing masks or other face coverings, social distancing and frequent hand-washing.
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.
There are 94 mobile testing events scheduled through Dec. 23 and 295 permanent testing facilities. Go to scdhec.gov/covid19testing to find a testing site in your area.