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SC reports nearly 1,300 new cases of the coronavirus as testing increases

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MUSC Health respiratory specimen collection site (copy)

Jessica Allen (left), BSN, RN, helps Brittany Kerce CMA 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

South Carolina reported nearly 1,300 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, the most new daily cases reported in the state since Sept. 4.

Out of 11,501 people tested yesterday, a significant increase in testing compared to the last few weeks, 11.1 percent of tests were positive for the virus.

Overall, the state's seven-day average for the percent of positive tests is 11.8 percent, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 1,281, which is 711 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Total cases in S.C.: 163,143, plus 7,535 probable cases

New deaths reported: 7

Total deaths in S.C.: 3,567 confirmed, 235 probable

Total tests in S.C.: 1,880,529

Hospitalized patients: 725

Percent of positive tests, 7-day average: 11.8 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, 195; Spartanburg, 148; and Anderson and Horry counties, with 81 each.

What about tri-county?

Charleston County had 54 new cases while Berkeley had 23 and Dorchester had 31, according to DHEC.

Deaths

Of the seven new deaths, five were elderly patients aged 65 and older, while two were middle-aged patients aged 35 to 64.

They lived in Aiken, Anderson, Greenville, Kershaw, Laurens and Newberry counties.

Hospitalizations

On Sunday, DHEC reported 725 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 206 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 113 mobile testing events scheduled through Dec. 23 and 291 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.

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