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SC's coronavirus data is back on track, showing record-breaking new cases

DHEC counts 4,671 new cases, 64 more deaths

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The COVID-19 outbreak might give the wider population some insight to the struggles of those already isolated and lonely. Above, this electron microscope image shows the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. File/NIAID-RML via AP

The Palmetto State's coronavirus data system has recovered from a bug that decimated case counts for nearly a week. Corrected data reveals that the state shot past its daily record in that time, and that cases have steadily grown.

South Carolina's Infectious Disease and Outbreak Network, which most laboratories use to submit the test results that ultimately go to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, weren't being processed at a normal speed. DHEC said that Conduent, the software company that services SCION, fixed the issue Saturday morning.

Corrected historical data shows that 5,426 cases went unreported from Jan. 8 to Jan. 13, so the total for that period is 24,881 cases.

The system issue arose on the same day that, unbeknownst to DHEC, the state tallied a new record for confirmed cases. The new data shows 6,924 positive cases had been logged on Jan. 8, but DHEC only received 3,747 of them. Because of the two-day delay, that data would've been released to the public on Jan. 10.

It's a sharp climb from the state's previous record of 5,969 new cases, according to records maintained by The Post and Courier, and confirms experts' fears that cases would continue to grow after holiday gatherings.

A county-level breakdown of the corrected data is available at scdhec.gov/covid19/south-carolina-county-level-data-covid-19.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 4,671, which is 2,856 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Total cases in S.C.: 346,880, plus 35,542 probable cases

New deaths reported: 64

Total deaths in S.C.: 5,577 confirmed, 531 probable

Total tests in S.C.: 4,274,179

Hospitalized patients: 2,387

Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 28.8 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus' spread is slowing, researchers say.

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Hardest-hit areas

According to data from DHEC, the top counties for new coronavirus cases reported Saturday were Greenville, 653; Richland, 517; and Lexington, 321.

What about tri-county?

Charleston County reported 200 new cases, Berkeley had 106 and Dorchester logged 100.

Deaths 

Of the 64 coronavirus deaths that DHEC confirmed Saturday, 12 were middle-aged patients aged 35 to 64, and the rest were at least 65 years old.

They lived in Anderson, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Cherokee, Chesterfield, Darlington, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Jasper, Laurens, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter, Williamsburg and York counties.

Hospitalizations

Of the 2,387 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Saturday, 474 were in intensive care and 291 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.

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

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