Health officials: 5 new cases of coronavirus in South Carolina, state total rises to 33

Health officials: 5 new cases of coronavirus in South Carolina, state total rises to 33
Health officials announced five new cases of coronavirus in South Carolina, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 33. (Source: WBTV)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WIS/WBTV) - Health officials announced five new cases of coronavirus in South Carolina, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 33.

As the state’s case counts increase, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control 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. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician consultant.

One new case is from Lexington County. The case is an elderly person who was a close contact to a previously reported case. This person remains in isolation at a healthcare facility. Four new cases are from Kershaw County. Three of the cases are middle-aged individuals who are known contacts to a previously reported case and are currently isolated at home. One case is an elderly person. Investigation is underway and further details are not currently available.

Earlier Monday, the state of South Carolina reported the first death of an individual with COVID-19 infection.

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.

“We know that many South Carolinians are concerned about what impact this virus may have on themselves, their loved ones, and our state,” Traxler said. “This is a rapidly evolving public health event, and DHEC takes every new infectious disease seriously. The state’s first reported death is an example of the importance of taking precautions to protect those at higher risk, like the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions.”

On Sunday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced temporary closures for schools across the state as more cases of coronavirus continue to emerge.

This impacts all schools, pre-K through high school, colleges and technical colleges.

McMaster was joined by public health officials for the announcement. He also suspended non-essential business travel by state employees.

“It is time to impress upon our children how important social distance is,” he said.

“We are going to get through this, and we are going to get through this as we have gotten through other things, by using common sense."

Like North Carolina, South Carolina received a federal grant allowing the state to provide students with meals with their summer feeding program.

On Friday, McMaster issued a State of Emergency, and closed schools in Lancaster and Kershaw counties, citing community spread of coronavirus.

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