South Carolina surpassed 5,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths on Sunday as the state neared 300,000 confirmed cases.
Nearly 4,000 new cases were reported by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Sunday, giving data for Friday's numbers. It was delayed due to the holiday. Thursday's data also was released on Sunday.
A high percentage of tests for the virus have returned positive results, indicating widespread community transmission. Out of 13,364 new tests conducted for Sunday's report, 29.6 percent were positive for COVID-19.
New cases reported: 3,952, which is 2,401 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.
Total cases in S.C.: 296,093, plus 25,576 probable cases
New deaths reported: 28
Total deaths in S.C.: 5,042 confirmed, 427 probable
Total tests in S.C.: 3,774,527
Hospitalized patients: 2,072
Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 30.3 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 as of Friday were Greenville, 805; Spartanburg, 319; and Richland, 280.
On Thursday, the top three counties were Greenville, 688; Spartanburg, 396; and Horry, 303.
What about tri-county?
For Friday's report, Charleston County had 102 new cases; Berkeley, 47; and Dorchester, 43.
On Thursday, Charleston County reported 215 new cases, while Berkeley County reported 87 and Dorchester County logged 101.
One Berkeley County patient died last week after contracting COVID-19, along with two Charleston County patients, DHEC said Sunday.
The St. Paul's Hollywood Library closed temporarily Sunday due to a staff member testing positive for the virus. The branch will reopen once it has been cleaned.
Of the 28 new deaths reported as of Friday, eight were patients aged 35 to 64, while the rest were aged 65 and older.
They lived in Abbeville, Beaufort, Berkeley, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, Williamsburg and York counties.
On Sunday, DHEC also reported that 50 new deaths were logged on Thursday. Nine were patients aged 35 to 64, while the rest were aged 65 and older.
They were residents of Aiken, Anderson, Barnwell, Charleston, Cherokee, Clarendon, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Laurens, Lexington, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg and York counties.
Of the 2,072 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 reported as of Sunday, 414 were in intensive care and 217 were on ventilators.
What do experts say?
Authorities continue to urge South Carolinians to take precautions, such as wearing masks or other face coverings, social distancing and frequently washing hands.
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.
Go to scdhec.gov/findatest to find a testing site in your area.