SCDHEC warns of possible “fall surge”, already gearing up

SCDHEC warns of possible “fall surge”, already gearing up

YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) -South Carolina’s state health department is warning Palmetto State residents of a possible COVID-19 fall surge.

On Thursday, South Carolina reported a 17 percent positivity rate. The percent positive average over the last several days is 13 percent.

Lancaster, York and Chester County have high disease activity according to state data.

The exception is Chesterfield County.

There are several indicators South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is looking at that pushed their fall surge concerns. Those are the daily rates of cases per 100,000 people, the percent positive rate, and how sick people are getting from COVID-19.

“That’s the whole thing risking it," said Kevin Hawver, a South Carolina resident. "I’m somewhat afraid.”

Hawver is one of the thousands of Americans suffering from underlying health conditions. It is what drives him to take the coronavirus seriously.

The percent positive rate soared from 11 percent to 17 percent just this week.

Data also shows more people are in the hospital and on ventilators because of COVID-19. It is not good for our hospitals either.

“I’d probably have a longer time to recover. I might have one of those lagging effects where I can’t get up and move around so much. So it would be a very difficult time," said Hawver.

Hawver and his wife take it so seriously they are skipping out on a traditional Thanksgiving for a virtual one.

“We don’t want to risk us going over to their house or them coming over to our house and accidentally getting it from our kids or our grandkids," said Hawver.

It is a recommendation South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as state health experts warn of a fall surge.

Lancaster and Chester counties are at about 70 percent capacity.

Data shows there have not been any beds available in York County for a week.

Assistant Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Kelly said the data is showing a disturbing trend.

“Without taking the proper precautions, the potential for skyrocketing cases and deaths is very possible," said Kelly. “All South Carolinians need to recommit themselves to the fight of COVID-19."

While it appears new COVID-19 cases have dropped by more than half from Sunday to Thursday, the percent positive rate is swelling.

Kelly easily described the percent positive rate here in one sentence. She said the average seven-day rate is also on the rise.

“This resurgence of cases and hospitalizations can have a profound impact on our hospital systems, economy and our schools and university operations," said Kelly.

So DHEC health experts want you to double down on your safety efforts -- wearing masks, social distance and test regularly, especially for those out and about.

“Rekindled commitment to be doing what we need to do this fall and holiday season we can turn the tide on our state’s escalating numbers," said Kelly.

“That’s a good point for DHEC to make. Because it may bring more concern for more people who are borderline," said Hawver.

DHEC’s promoting regular testing with the be positive your negative campaign. The health agency is offering saliva tests to help with these efforts.

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