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Six additional COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, total at 19

The cases are in Kershaw, Beaufort, Lancaster, Charleston, Spartanburg, and Lexington Counties.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating six additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus as of Saturday afternoon. 

The total number of statewide cases, presumed and confirmed, is 19. 

Eleven cases are in Kershaw County, three are in Beaufort County, two are in Lancaster County, one is in Charleston County, and one is in Spartanburg County, and one is in Lexington County.  

According to DHEC, they will be reporting information about facilities and locations that impacted communities should be aware of and 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. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist.

There are three new cases in Beaufort County. Two of these cases are close contacts and had known contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case from a different state. The other case recently traveled internationally. All three cases are currently isolated at home, according to DHEC. 

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Two of the new cases are from Kershaw County. According to DHEC they have not identified a source of exposure, and they are both currently hospitalized and isolated.  

One of the new cases is from Lexington County. The patient is currently hospitalized and isolated. The individual has no known exposure to another case and no recent travel history to an impacted area.

According to DHEC, the Lexington County case was a resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility. The source of the exposure in this case is still being investigated by Lexington Medical Center and DHEC. 

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“We are working closely with this extended care facility to immediately investigate possible exposures in an effort to mitigate any potential spread at this facility,” said Dr. Bell. “The facility is completely cooperative as we work through our contact investigation and staff are abiding by DHEC’s and CDC’s recommended actions for helping to protect this higher-risk population.”

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency for SC during a press conference Friday night. In conjunction with the declaration, DHEC began restricting visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end-of-life situations, to help better safeguard this vulnerable population against COVID-19.

“Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health,” Bell said. “This includes working to control spread and measures that best protect all individuals. We encourage the public to maintain their daily routines of protecting against illness by practicing good hygiene and handwashing, and individuals with signs of illness are asked to take seriously the recommendation to stay home from school and work and not attend public gatherings.”

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What is the Coronavirus? 

Conaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.

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