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COVID-19: State sees highest single day infection count
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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released the daily COVID-19 numbers for Friday, Dec. 11. The emailed statement noted that one week ago, South Carolina announced its highest number of new cases of COVID-19. On Dec. 11, the state exceeded that number by more than 700.

A total of 3,137 confirmed and 80 probable cases of COVID-19 were announced on Dec. 11, as well as 42 additional deaths and five probable deaths. So far the state has now suffered 4,673 deaths and exceeded 245,200 cases, the statement said.

“South Carolina, like many other states, is currently experiencing a worsening of this pandemic,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. “While the arriving vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, it will be months before there is enough vaccine available for everyone. It is incumbent upon all of us to continue to take actions aimed at saving lives.”

Locally on Dec. 11, Berkeley County reported 41 confirmed cases and three probable cases, Dorchester County has 62 confirmed cases and seven probable cases, Charleston County has 97 confirmed cases and five probable cases.

The upstate is being especially hard hit, the latest tally showed Greenville County having 535 confirmed cases and Spartanburg County had 346 confirmed cases on, Dec. 11.

State public health officials continue to stress that people continue to act to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by taking small steps that make a big difference, including: wearing a face mask, social distancing from others by at least six feet, getting tested and staying home when you’re sick and limiting contact with those outside your household.

“No one else should have to die at the hands of this silent killer,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist, in the statement. “It is within all of our powers to stop COVID-19. As we each wait patiently for our turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, let’s keep doing our part by wearing our masks and practicing social distancing.”

The statement said that in addition to following public health safety precautions, DHEC continues to urge the public to be open and honest with case investigators and contact monitors and follow their guidance. The information provided through such calls helps the public health staff take actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in communities.

Forty-four Score

Northwood Academy senior Anaya Manigault (44) drives by an Augusta Christian defender in the Lady Chargers’ 80-36 victory on Friday. See Sports for more on Northwood Academy’s girls basketball team.

Berkeley County breaks ground on Clements Ferry Road Phase 2
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On Friday, Berkeley County joined state, community, and project leaders to break ground on the Clements Ferry Road Phase 2 widening project.

This project will add two lanes to Clements Ferry Road, for approximately 4.5 miles, from Jack Primus Road to SC Highway 41 near the Wando River.

The improvements also include a multiuse path and a raised planted median.

“This project will improve the quality of life for thousands in the Lowcountry,” said Johnny Cribb, Berkeley County Supervisor. “It will mean a safer trip to school. It will provide safe recreation and pedestrian opportunities. It will improve congestion along the corridor. This project as well as other high-capacity road projects are a priority for the County. Today’s groundbreaking is just one more step toward fulfilling major infrastructure needs in Berkeley County. The Clements Ferry Road projects are a true testament to the importance of the County’s One-Cent Sales Tax Program and its ability to fund much needed infrastructure improvements.”

Phase 2 will pick-up at the end of the Clements Ferry Road Phase 1 widening project which expanded Clements Ferry Road from I-526 to Jack Primus Road, approximately four miles. Phase 1 was completed in August 2019.

The much-anticipated project will be managed by Berkeley County and is designed to increase the quality of life of Berkeley County residents by decreasing congestion and increasing safety along the corridor.

Berkeley County Council awarded the project contract to Banks Construction Company in November 2020.

“We are ready to see this project get off the ground,” said Berkeley County Councilman Josh Whitley. “It has been a competitive and thorough process to get to this point and I look forward to seeing great work from our capable project team.”

While residents may not see roadway and bridge construction until the middle of 2021, important preliminary construction work will begin next week.

This includes clearing and grubbing, drainage improvements, and utility relocations. Construction is expected to be complete by November 2024.

This project is primarily funded by the 2014 Berkeley County One-Cent Sales Tax Program with additional federal funds.

It is expected to cost $64 million, including right-of-way acquisition, permitting, construction and more.

Other projects

Additionally, the next large project to go out to construction will be the U.S. 176 Phase 1 widening from U.S. 17A to Nexton Parkway.

Right-of-way acquisition has been completed and final plan approvals and environmental permitting are scheduled for completion in the next few weeks.

Additionally, complex utility relocation efforts are being coordinated and being done in a manner to minimize any customer disruption during construction of the roadway and drainage improvements. County officials said they anticipate advertising this critical infrastructure project for construction bids at the first of the year.

Finally, in a prepared statement county officials said they are pleased to announce that Spine Road C is expected to be complete in early 2021.

Spine Road C will provide another access route into Cane Bay and will be named Nexton Parkway Extension from the intersection of the recently completed Nexton Parkway intersection with U.S. 176.

For construction updates, visit www.BuildingBerkeley.com.

DSS offers new tools to report abuse and neglect
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In an emailed statement, the South Carolina Department of Social Services announced the launch of two new ways to report suspected cases involving the abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult.

DSS released the 1-888-CARE-4-US phone number and a new online submission portal on the agency’s website.

The new centralized phone number for reporting, rolled out earlier in December, provides callers in all 46 South Carolina counties with one centralized phone number to make reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The online submission option on the agency’s website also operates 24 hours a day.

“Previously, all individual counties were responsible for manning their own individual intake phone lines,” said Carissa Gainey, Director of Safety Management for DSS. “Now, these resources take a more uniform approach to what we were previously doing and increases accessibility for callers or online users to make sure their concerns are heard in an efficient manner.”

The statement said, making a report via either method is simple, and reporters can remain anonymous. To make a report by phone, call the 24-hour Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-888-CARE4US (1-888-227-3487). From there, callers will be connected with a trained intake special is to collect information for the report.

Staff will assist the person making the report and assess the information provided to determine next steps. For online submissions of non-emergency referrals via the DSS website, a similar process will occur and the submission will be assessed in real time by a trained intake specialist. The phone line and website submission portal will be staffed and operational on state and national holidays.