State health officials release metrics for measuring COVID-19 spread to SC school districts

State health officials release metrics for measuring COVID-19 spread to SC school districts
(Source: WVUE)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has released guidance to South Carolina school districts for measuring the spread of COVID-19 in their areas.

The metrics are used to determine 'Low, Medium and High' spread of COVID-19 in a county.

The AccelerateED task force recommended school districts seeing high spread of COVID-19 in the fall should do full distance learning.

If there is low-spread, the school district should stick to a modified traditional model. If the spread is somewhere in between high and low, they could do a hybrid model.

Beaufort County Schools Director of Communications Jim Foster said they were told by DHEC this guidance will be updated weekly.

“It’s an absolutely key metric for us.”

DHEC has laid out the system being used to determine that in each county:

Two-week cumulative incidence rate: the number of new cases in the prior two weeks per 100,000 people.

  • Low: 0–50
  • Medium: 51 – 200
  • High: ≥ 201

Trend in incidence rate: whether the two-week incidence rate is increasing, decreasing, or stable compared to the previous two weeks.

  • Increasing = High
  • Stable = Medium
  • Decreasing = Low

Two-week percent positive rate: the percentage of individuals who tested positive out of the number of individuals tested with a molecular (swab, or PCR) test in the last two weeks.

  • Low: ≤ 5.0%
  • Medium: 5.1 – 9.9%
  • High: ≥ 10.0%

The three metrics and their categorizations are combined to determine the spread. You can see a full list of counties by clicking here.

According to DHEC for the week of June 21st, Richland, Lexington and Kershaw Counties are seeing high-spread of COVID-19.

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