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SC nearing 3,500 confirmed COVID-19 deaths; high percent of tests coming back positive

DHEC logs 722 new cases, 12 deaths

  • Updated
MUSC Health respiratory specimen collection site (copy)

Jessica Allen (left), helps Brittany Kerce put on one of three sets of gloves while donning their personal protective equipment. After people test positive for COVID-19, South Carolina contact tracers attempt to reach out to them and ask about their recent trips and activities — and who they might have infected. The conversations are kept in confidence. File/Sarah Pack/MUSC/Provided

South Carolina neared 3,500 confirmed deaths of the coronavirus on Sunday, with more than 157,000 total cases of the virus reported by state health authorities.

Almost 1.8 million people in South Carolina have been tested so far, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

For Sunday's report, 10.3 percent of 7,011 tests were positive for the virus.

The state's seven-day average of the percent of positive tests was slightly higher at 10.8 percent.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 722, which is 357 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Total cases in S.C.: 157,394

New deaths reported: 12

Total deaths in S.C.: 3,439 confirmed, 211 probable

Hospitalized patients: 716

Total tests in S.C.: 1,759,033

Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 10.8 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus’ spread is slowing, researchers say.

Hardest-hit areas

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The top South Carolina counties for new coronavirus cases Sunday were Greenville, 95; Spartanburg, 77; and Richland, 62.

What about tri-county?

Charleston County had 42 new cases, Berkeley had nine and Dorchester had 18.

On Sunday, DHEC reported that one Charleston County patient and one Berkeley County patient had died after contracting the virus.

Deaths

The 12 newly deceased patients lived in York, Richland, Charleston, Lexington, Pickens, Aiken, Lexington, Berkeley, Greenville and Chester counties.

Hospitalizations

Of 716 coronavirus patients who were hospitalized as of Sunday, DHEC said 186 were in intensive care with 97 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 155 mobile testing events scheduled through Dec. 2 and 313 permanent testing facilities. Go to scdhec.gov/covid19testing 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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