S.C. DHEC director Rick Toomey announces resignation amid pandemic

Protecting yourself from coronavirus

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) - During a meeting of health officials Wednesday, the director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced his resignation. Rick Toomey has served as the director of DHEC since Feb. 2019.

Toomey said he made the decision to resign in light of recent health issues he’s faced - which had him step down from his position for a brief time.

He also said he wants to spend more time with his family, especially his new grandson.

Toomey’s resignation comes in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, which has brought DHEC’s role in the state to the forefront.

His last day will be June 10.

Toomey joined Governor Henry McMaster as he answered questions Wednesday afternoon after the DHEC’s board meeting.

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Henry McMaster addresses the media after the director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced his resignation. https://bit.ly/2M3nsLf

Posted by WBTV News on Wednesday, May 27, 2020

South Carolina health officials have surpassed their goal to test 110,000 residents for COVID-19 in the month of May.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Tuesday announced that 110,316 tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the state since May 1. Earlier this month, DHEC and its community partners set a goal to test two percent of the state’s population, or 110,000 residents by May 31.

A total of 181,154 total tests have been conducted in the state (by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs) since March 5, 2020.

South Carolina health officials announced 207 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, increasing the total of statewide cases to 10,623. There were also 20 additional deaths reported, raising the toll to 466.

DHEC launched a new testing site map that easily and clearly identifies COVID-19 testing sites around the state. Clicking on a testing site icon provides the facility name, address, hours of operation, contact phone number and additional details. Testing sites are also listed under the map for easy viewing. View the updated map at scdhec.gov/covid19testing.

As of Wednesday morning, 3,277 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,081 are in use, which is a 68.36% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,081 inpatient beds currently used, 398 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

The state’s COVID-19 webpage update include new information about the virus’s association with chronic health conditions, also referred to as underlying health conditions. This data provides a breakdown of COVID-19 cases and 14 commonly seen chronic illnesses (such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, kidney disease and others) of both positive cases and those who have died. Individuals with certain underlying conditions are at higher risk for experiencing severe illness or death from the COVID-19.

The state’s website information includes updated new demographic data, a newly calculated recovery rate, a current list of nursing homes and similar facilities impacted by COVID-19, and more.

For the latest information about bed utilization rates, testing, telehealth options and more, you can visit scdhec.gov/COVID-19. DHEC’s interactive maps were updated to include the latest confirmed and estimated COVID-19 cases by county and ZIP code.

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