South Carolina surpassed its monthly COVID-19 testing goal for July, with more than 140,000 tests already performed, health officials said.
From July 1 to July 16, testing centers recorded 143,336 tests, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. Nearly 640,000 tests have been completed overall.
DHEC has tried to expand testing across the state with 503 free testing events sponsored since May.
On Monday, officials reported nearly 1,500 new cases of the virus, along with nine deaths.
Number of new cases reported: 1,445
Total number of cases in S.C.: 71,213
Number of new deaths reported: 9
Total number of deaths in S.C.: 1,147
Number of hospitalized patients: DHEC will not report hospital data for a few days, until the new reporting system is fully implemented.
Percent of tests that were positive: 17.7 percent
Total number of tests in S.C.: 638,194
Which areas are hardest hit?
Charleston County led the state with 188 new cases announced on Monday, while Richland County reported 177 and Greenville County tallied 174.
What's happening in the tri-county region?
Along with the cases reported in Charleston County, Berkeley County reported 35 cases and Dorchester County logged 73.
Of the nine patients who died, eight were older than 65 and resided in Charleston, Greenville, Hampton, Horry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. One patient was 35 to 64 years old and lived in Spartanburg County.
A 58-year-old inmate at the Lieber Correctional Institution died Monday after contracting the coronavirus. He had several underlying medical conditions, the S.C. Department of Corrections said. Eight inmates across the department's system have died due to complications from COVID-19.
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. While Gov. Henry McMaster encourages the public to wear masks he has repeatedly declined to issue a statewide mandate.
DHEC officials said they are working with their community partners to set up mobile testing clinics.
As of Sunday, there were 83 such clinics scheduled through Aug. 15.
In addition, there are 182 permanent testing sites around the state. For more information about where and how to get tested, go to scdhec.gov/covid19testing.
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, are the best practices.