DHEC Announces Additional 44 Cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in South Carolina

The Latest:

As of 4:30 pm on March 24th, South Carolina currently has 342 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.  This is 44 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Original Story (Posted: March 15, 2020):

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating nine additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number of cases statewide to 28.

As the state’s case counts expectedly increase, DHEC will publicly report information about facilities and locations that impacted communities should be aware of where special precautions may be needed.

“We emphasize the importance of practicing disease prevention measures and following recommendations for social distancing to protect our community as a whole,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist.

Preliminary information for new cases

3 new cases reported from commercial labs

  • One new case is from Kershaw County. The case is a middle-aged daycare worker who has no identified source of exposure. This individual’s onset of illness occurred after their last day worked. The case is currently isolated at home.
  • Two new cases are from Horry County. The cases are elderly individuals who had known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 from another state. The cases are currently isolated at home.

6 new cases from DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory

  • Two new cases are from Kershaw County and are household contacts to a previously reported case. One case is an elderly individual who is hospitalized in isolation. The other case is a middle-aged individual and is currently isolated at home.
  • One new case is from Horry County and is an elderly individual. Investigation is underway and further details are not currently available.
  • Two cases are from Anderson County and are middle-aged individuals who have no identified source of exposure. Both cases are currently hospitalized in isolation.
  • One case is from Greenville County and is a young adult who recently traveled to Spain. The case is currently isolated at home.

Impacted facilities

 One of the additional Kershaw County cases was a childcare worker of Bethesda Daycare. The individual was not ill while working and there are no known contacts at the childcare facility at this time. The source of this case’s exposure is being investigated. DHEC is working with the center to provide guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread. However, the center was following the governor’s closure of schools in Kershaw and Lancaster counties and is not currently open.

“On Friday, March 13 the childcare center voluntarily closed as a precaution after the governor issued school closures for Kershaw and Lancaster counties. We are working closely with this childcare facility to immediately investigate possible exposures at this facility,” said Dr. Bell. “The facility is completely cooperative and staff are abiding by DHEC’s and CDC’s recommended actions for helping to protect this population.”

People with symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath should call their healthcare provider. If an individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, several healthcare systems are providing telehealth services so residents may be evaluated by a healthcare provider without having to leave their homes. If it’s determined an individual should be tested, they will be instructed where to go to be tested. Individuals with minor illness are advised not to go to emergency departments.

“While we anticipate the number of cases in the U.S. and here at home to grow, the majority of people will likely not develop serious illness,” Bell said. “When you hear about the first cases, or growing cases, in your community, we encourage the public to maintain their daily routines with a focus on good hygiene, including routinely washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough. Individuals with signs of illness are asked to take seriously the recommendation to stay home from school and work and not attend public gatherings.”

Learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for infection control in schools and childcare programs here. For more information about COVID-19, visit scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.