COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting 229 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
Since the pandemic started, South Carolina has had 486,761 confirmed positive cases of the virus.
An additional deaths 14 were reported Thursday. The total number of COVID-related deaths to 8,467 since March 2020.
A total of 7,628,122 COVID-19 tests have been performed statewide as of Thursday. The percent positive for cases is 4.7 percent.
Health officials reported Jan. 30 the first confirmed case of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 was found in the state.
VACCINE RESOURCES IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that they were changing the way the percent positive is calculated for COVID-19 cases.
Previously, state health officials produced the percent positive by dividing the number of people with positive results by the number of people who had taken tests overall which included positive and negative results.
This new method is calculated by dividing all positive COVID-19 tests by the total number of COVID-19 tests, positive and negative, and then multiplying the result by 100 to get a percent.
With this new method taking place, the public will see a big drop in the number representing percent positive. However, DHEC officials stress that it does not mean that the level of spread in the community has decreased.
“Percent positive will appear to be lower only because it is calculated differently,” state health officials said on Tuesday afternoon.
According to a press release, not only will DHEC use this new method going forward, but it will go back and recalculate the percent positive for the entire time COVID-19 has been tracked in South Carolina.
“As part of DHEC’s continuous improvement efforts to enhance the quality of information DHEC provides, daily COVID-19 data will be provided with a 24-hour delay beginning November 27, 2020. This delay will allow for more robust analysis of data before it’s publicly reported. DHEC’s epidemiologists and data analysts will have greater time to review the vast amounts of data and information reported to the agency each day and will have additional time for data validation, verification of death reports, and improvements in processing large data files submitted from reporting partners. This also will allow DHEC’s data and medical experts more time to identify and investigate any data inconsistencies or abnormalities. This transition in no way affects the agency’s efforts to protect public health and limit disease spread. Case investigators will continue to attempt contact with all positive cases within 24 hours of our notification of their positive result.”
If you are out and about in the community, around others, or not able to socially distance or wear a mask, officials recommend that you get tested at least once a month.
Routine testing allows public health workers to diagnose those who are asymptomatic and interrupt the ongoing spread of the virus. Learn more about who should get tested here.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued a public health order that requires all nursing homes and community residential care facilities licensed by DHEC to submit a weekly report detailing each facility’s current visitation status.
This public health order was issued as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the health of long-term care facility residents and employees while also providing for safe and careful visits with family, friends and loved ones, according to South Carolina health officials. Under the public health order, DHEC-licensed nursing homes and community residential care facilities must provide, among other information:
- whether the facility is allowing visitation, and if not, provide the reason(s) for not allowing visitation
- the number of residents that participated in a visit in the previous seven days
On Sept. 4, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced it is unveiling online resources that provide COVID-19 cases associated with students, faculty and staff and all kindergarten through 12th grade public and private schools in South Carolina.
The information, which can be found at scdhec.gov/COVID19schools, will be updated twice a week.
Health officials say it’s important to remember that this reporting does not mean that students, faculty or staff contracted the virus at school; only those students, faculty and staff who physically attend a school or a school’s campus on a regular basis will be included in the counts; and some schools may choose to self-announce cases before they are reflected in DHEC’s twice-weekly reports.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced a mask requirement at several establishments in South Carolina, effective on Monday, Aug. 3.
All previously recommended guidelines for restaurants and other establishments that attract groups of people are now mandatory. This includes the wearing of a face mask or cover.
MORE INFORMATION: S.C. governor announces targeted face mask requirements
As part of the “Mask Up” statewide campaign aimed at encouraging youth and young adults to embrace wearing a face mask, DHEC is offering free mask content that anyone can share on social media to encourage their friends and followers to wear a face covering in public.
Social media posts, graphics, and videos to be shared online can be found at scdhec.gov/staySCstrong.
DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory receives samples from healthcare providers to be tested for COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some private labs to also conduct testing for COVID-19. These labs are required to report positive tests for the virus in South Carolina residents to DHEC.
<b>RESOURCES: </b><a href="https://scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-screening-testing-sites" target=_blank><b>To find a testing site near you in South Carolina, or for information on who should be tested, click here</b></a>
South Carolina reports both confirmed and probable cases and deaths across the state. DHEC defines the difference between these statistics as:
- A confirmed case is an individual who had a confirmatory viral test performed by way of a throat or nose swab and that specimen tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive viral test, also called a PCR test or molecular test, alone is enough to classify a confirmed case.
- A probable case is an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test performed but has epidemiologic evidence and clinical evidence of infection. A positive antibody result no longer classifies an individual as a probable case. A positive antibody result will now be categorized as a suspect case.
- A confirmed death is someone whose death is related to COVID-19 and who tested positive with a confirmatory viral test for COVID-19.
- A probable death is an individual whose death certificate lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death but did not undergo confirmatory viral testing.
This webpage provides information about probable cases and deaths and will be updated to reflect the most current CDC recommendations for reporting this new information.
South Carolina is currently not reporting accurate numbers for hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the state.
Since Wednesday, July 22, DHEC says hospitals have “actively been making a transition to a new federal reporting system for providing bed occupancy and other important information. DHEC is monitoring their efforts to transition to the new system.”
DHEC issued a <a href="https://www.scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/COVID19-PHO_for_new_hospital_reporting-07.17.2020.pdf">Public Health Order</a> supporting the transition from NHSN to TeleTracking on July 15.
For more information or for updates, you can visit DHEC’s Hospital Bed Occupancy page here.
For S.C. demographic data, including the latest recovery rates for the state, click here.
Since the state has mostly reopened and Gov. Henry McMaster has stated lockdowns will not return, Duwve stressed the importance of people taking action to fight the spread of COVID-19.
The two things people can do are simple: social distance and wear a mask.
There is still a significant risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus in a public setting in any community. To reduce the spread, health officials advise everyone to take following precautions:
- Maintain social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others
- Wear a cloth mask that covers your nose and mouth while in public
- Avoid touching frequently touched items
- Regularly wash your hands
- Monitor for symptoms and stay home when sick
People should stay home and get tested for the coronavirus if they have any of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- loss of smell
- vomiting, nausea and/or diarrhea