State health officials reported five more coronavirus-related deaths and 261 new cases on Thursday — including several new cases in the Lakelands — increasing the statewide tally to 1,554.
McCormick County reported its first case, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Greenwood County now has eight cases and Abbeville County has six. Saluda County saw its second case.
“There are now documented cases of COVID-19 in every county across our state,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician. “The level in which it continues to spread will hinge on all of our actions. Please do your part and stay home and limit your close contact with others.”
The new deaths were reported in Anderson, Florence, Horry and Sumter counties. All five were elderly and had health problems. To date, 31 South Carolinians have died after contracting COVID-19.
The new coronavirus causes minor to moderate symptoms in most patients but some experience serious illness, such as pneumonia, or even death. Those most at risk for serious illness are those who are older or have certain medical problems.
According to data released Wednesday, 27% of COVID-19 patients in South Carolina were hospitalized when they tested positive. While just 5% of positive cases were in people 20 or younger, cases were relatively evenly distributed among other age groups.
While whites make up a majority — 56% — of patients who've tested positive, a disproportionate number have been black. African Americans make up 27% of the state's population and 36% of positive cases.
The state health agency does not track how many people recover from the virus.