SC announces 1,361 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 29 confirmed deaths in incomplete Tuesday report

Low case numbers reported for second straight day due to DHEC internal systems issue

SC announces 1,361 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 29 confirmed deaths in incomplete Tuesday report

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced 1,361* new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and 29* additional confirmed deaths Tuesday, Jan. 12. This information is accurate as of Jan. 10.

*Tuesday’s low case numbers, however, are due to an internal systems issue, according to DHEC. The agency is working with its vendor to correct the issue and will report the missing case numbers once the issue is resolved.

This brings the total number of people with confirmed cases since the outbreak began to 328,028 and confirmed deaths to 5,358.

Of the 29* deaths reported, six were middle-aged people (ages 35-64) and 23 were elderly (65 and older).

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DHEC also announced 22* new probable cases of the virus and five* new probable deaths. That brings the total of probable cases to 31,329 and the total number of probable deaths to 502 in the state since the outbreak began.

To see virus spread by county, check out the link below of new confirmed and probable cases. Cases are counted by a patient’s zip code of residence.

COVID-19 TESTING IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DHEC encourages everyone who is out and about in the community to get tested routinely, at least each month.

If people plan to travel or gather for the holidays, officials say they should be tested before and after those events to “be positive you’re negative.”

TRACKING PERCENT POSITIVE

Percent positive refers to the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the number of tests being performed. The percent positive has spiked in early December.

DHEC says the percent positive from the 4,496 tests most recently reported to them was 30.3% (not including antibody tests).

When daily case numbers are high and the percent positive is high, that indicates more virus spread in the community, DHEC said.

To see the percent positive since the outbreak began in South Carolina, use the chart below, and click on “Testing.”

COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATION

As of Tuesday morning, DHEC says 80.88% of inpatient beds in South Carolina are in use while 79.65% of ICU beds are in use.

There are 2,453 hospitalized patients who have COVID-19 or are suspected of having it and awaiting a test, DHEC said. Of those, 485 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.

DHEC is reporting 1,960 ventilators available in the state with 679 of them in use. COVID-19 patients account for 270 of those.

*NOTE: In a previous version of this article, these numbers were not correct. DHEC made an error in its reporting. The above numbers are accurate.

COVID-19 RECOVERIES

As of Jan. 9, DHEC has estimated 88.4% of people who didn’t die from the virus, and that they have “symptom onset data” for, have recovered. They only have that data for 190,917 people. Of those people, 3,920 have unfortunately died.

Based on that information, DHEC estimates that about 165,305 of those people have recovered so far. The rest of those people are still fighting the virus, DHEC says.

Note that this data is only available for about 60% of the total COVID-19 cases reported in South Carolina.

COVID-19 DEATH RATE

When looking at the confirmed numbers of cases and deaths, one could figure the death toll from the virus is about 1.63% in South Carolina.

However, DHEC previously estimated that for every confirmed case of the virus, there could be up to nine other people in the community who have also been infected.

If that is the case, as DHEC suggests, there may have been more than 2,952,252 coronavirus cases in the state so far. That would mean the death toll could be more like 0.18%.

KEY INDICATORS AND TRENDS

Below is DHEC’s Key Indicators dashboard. It’s meant to give an “at-a-glance view” of important data points used to measure the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

It shows trends in cases, testing, deaths, hospitalizations, and more.

DHEC says all of these factors need to be considered when evaluating the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina.

WHAT ARE PROBABLE COVID-19 CASES AND DEATHS?

On June 18, DHEC announced it would begin reporting probable cases and deaths. A probable case, according to DHEC officials, is an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test performed but meets the following qualifications:

  • Has epidemiologic evidence and clinical evidence of infection, or
  • A positive antibody blood test and either epidemiologic evidence or clinical evidence.

A probable death, according to DHEC, is a person whose death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death but did not undergo confirmatory viral testing.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO HELP

South Carolinians are encouraged to monitor for symptoms, practice social distancing, avoid touching frequently touched items (such as doorknobs and handrails), and regularly wash their hands, especially after being in a public place.

To help protect against COVID-19, DHEC encourages everyone to wear a mask covering whenever in public. When wearing a mask, South Carolinians should:

  • Make sure you can breathe through it
  • Wear it whenever going out in public
  • Make sure it covers your nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands before taking it on or off
  • Wash after using

You should not:

  • Use on children under age 2
  • Touch the front of the mask
  • Use surgical masks needed by healthcare workers

DHEC says homemade masks can reduce the chance of people spreading the virus and keep them from touching their face. They are recommended to be worn in places where social distancing is difficult -- grocery stores, pharmacies, etc...

People who have the virus but aren’t showing symptoms can reduce their chance of spreading the virus by wearing a mask, so everyone is recommended to wear one.

For a video tutorial on how to make your own mask, click or tap here.

Individuals with signs of illness are asked to stay at home and not attend public gatherings.

FACTS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spread mainly from person-to-person by those in close contact, or through coughing and sneezing by someone who’s infected.

Symptoms of the coronavirus can show up between two and 14 days of exposure, health officials say. Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and/or smell, headaches, and runny nose.

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But some severe cases can lead to death.

Most people can recover from the virus at home using over-the-counter medications to treat their symptoms.

Some people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms, but they can still spread it to others. The CDC estimates that up to 35% of all cases are asymptomatic.

Those who are at the highest risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 are the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.

The CDC says about 3% of people who show symptoms of the virus need to be hospitalized, but that percentage is doubled for seniors.

Young people who contract the virus are not likely to have a serious case, research shows. However, the CDC said about 40% of people who needed to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus are between the ages of 18 and 64.

Those who are hospitalized with serious cases of COVID-19 have trouble breathing, and many need support from ventilators, which breathe for them.

Children are the least likely to develop COVID-19. However, a serious but rare inflammatory condition in children has been linked with the coronavirus. Click or tap here to read more about that.

The mortality rate for people with the virus was first widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts noted at the time that the actual percentage was not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.

As of mid-May, the CDC estimates about 0.4% of people who get COVID-19 will die from it.

The rate is higher than the flu, which kills on average about 0.1% of people who get it, based on a 10-year average of data from the CDC.

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Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider. Avoid going to the doctor or an emergency room unless the situation is life-threatening.

People without a doctor can take advantage of free online screening from Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

MUSC has an online platform to aid with coronavirus diagnosis and care. Go to musc.care and access the COVID-19 platform. The service is free with code: COVID19.

Prisma Health also has a free virtual visit, which allows patients to video conference with a doctor instead of coming into a facility. The goal is to keep patients who don’t need to be treated at a hospital at home. Go to prismahealth.org/virtual-visit and use promo code COVID19 for a free virtual visit.

For more information on COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the CDC’s website.

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