Berkeley County Emergency Management officials are proactively preparing for cases of the coronavirus, officially called novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
As of Monday, March 9, 2020, there were six confirmed cases of the virus in South Carolina, including one in Charleston County. The individual has been quarantined. There are no active cases in Berkeley County at this time; however, the County is currently preparing and carrying out coordinated efforts with multiple agencies across the Tri-County.
On Friday, March 6, Berkeley County Emergency Management Department joined with government leaders, health and school officials, and first responder agencies locally and statewide, including South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), to discuss local preparations for the virus. The immediate threat level locally for the virus remains low, but public health officials continue to advise that the public follow the proper preventative measures that have been issued by DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay healthy and help limit the spread of the virus.
According to the CDC, common symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough and shortness of breath, which may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems have the greatest risk of contracting the virus and are more likely to experience severe symptoms. According to the CDC, about 80 percent of patients have experienced mild to moderate symptoms.
Berkeley County 911 is currently working to update its call-taking software to include the Emergency Infectious Disease Surveyance Tool, a screening resource to identify individuals who may be experiencing coronavirus symptoms. DHEC has also set up a Care Line for public inquiries about the virus. The number is 1-855-472-3432 and is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
The public can help prevent the spread of the virus by following these simple measures:
Stay home when you’re sick (unless requiring direct medical attention)
Cover your mouth
Wash your hands
Appropriately dispose of tissues and other items you've sneezed or coughed into