COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina hospitals now hold more than 1,000 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, and more than 10 localities have ordered people to wear masks to fight transmission of the coronavirus that causes the disease.
There are now 1,032 such patients, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Monday.
The department says 1,320 new cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus brought South Carolina’s total to more than 34,500. The number of confirmed deaths rose by four, to at least 717.
At least 11 cities, towns and counties either are requiring masks or will soon begin doing so, according to news outlets. Gov. Henry McMaster has said he won’t order masks worn statewide because enforcement would be impossible.
Some ordinances, resolutions and other measures already have taken effect; others take effect Tuesday or Wednesday, WIS-TV reported.
They include Beaufort, Columbia, Charleston, Clemson, Greenville, Hanahan, Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island and Newberry County. Mount Pleasant will require masks in grocery stores and pharmacies — a common requirement — starting Wednesday, and Folly Beach approved a mask ordinance on Monday, the Post and Courier reported.
Masks can help keep infected people who don’t have any symptoms from infecting others, health experts say.
Experts say people can infect others days before their first symptoms, and many people never feel ill.
For most people who do get sick, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up within weeks. But for some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe or fatal illness.