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SC passes 90,000 known coronavirus cases as officials plan to increase testing

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This electron microscope image made available by the National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. South Carolina and local authorities are bracing for Hurricane Isaias while battling the spread of coronavirus. File/AP

South Carolina has logged more than 90,000 known coronavirus cases since March, and officials are planning for increased testing sites through August and September.

They've implemented 215 permanent testing sites across the state, and scheduled 138 mobile testing events through late September, with a focus on under-served and rural communities. Testing has fallen by about 15 percent over the past two weeks, though the weekly average of deaths continues to rise. 

Projections posted by the State Department of Health and Environmental Control indicate the state will surpass 100,000 cases in the first week of August.

The Palmetto State logged 51,837 tests in July, nearly doubling June testing rates and logging more swabs than had been administered in the prevoius four months.

Statewide numbers

Number of new cases reported: 1,491

Total number of cases in S.C.: 90,076

Number of new deaths reported: 35

Total number of deaths in S.C.: 1,683, plus 68 probable deaths

Number of hospitalized patients: 1,453

Percent of tests that were positive: 18.5 percent

Total number of tests in S.C.: 766,492

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Which areas are hardest hit?

Charleston County led the state with 124 new cases announced Saturday, while Anderson logged 118 and Greenville counted 105.

What's happening in the tri-county region?

In addition to the 124 new Charleston County cases, 59 Berkeley residents tested positive, along with 44 people from Dorchester.

Deaths

Of the 35 deaths confirmed Saturday, four were in patients ages 35 to 64, and 31 victims were over 65. They'd lived in Aiken, Anderson, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Williamsburg and York counties.

Authorities are investigating four more deaths to see if the victims had COVID-19. Those patients were from Aiken, Anderson, Calhoun and Sumter counties.

Hospitalizations

DHEC reported that 1,453 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Saturday. Of the total, 359 were in ICU and 235 were on ventilators.

What do experts say?

As case numbers and deaths continue to rise around the state, officials continue to issue dire warnings on what will happen if the public does not adopt widespread precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing.

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.

Reach Sara Coello at 843-937-5705 and follow her on Twitter @smlcoello.

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