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COVID-19 update: DHEC ties decline in new cases to mask mandates

DHEC dashboard

For the third consecutive day, South Carolina logged fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, part of a nearly monthlong decline in cases.

In its Wednesday announcement of daily new cases, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control correlated the decline to local governments enacting mask ordinances to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while noting that communities without such requirements have continued to see cases rise.

"Those jurisdictions with mask requirements in place have seen an overall decrease of 15.1 percent of total cases for the four weeks after the requirements were implemented compared to before the requirements were in place," the agency said in a news release. "This is an overall decrease of 34.6 cases per 100,000 people from before the mask requirements to after."

"During the same time frame, those jurisdictions without mask requirements have experienced an overall increase in total cases of 30.4 percent, as well as an average increase of 24.1 cases per 100,000 people when compared to jurisdictions with a mask requirement in place."

Nearly 40% of South Carolinians — or about 2 million residents — live in jurisdictions that have local mask requirements in place.

State health officials reported 712 new confirmed cases and 19 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, along with 45 additional confirmed deaths and one new probable death.

Statewide, this brings the total number of confirmed cases to 102,143, probable cases to 831, confirmed deaths to 2,057, and 87 probable deaths.

Greenwood County added two new confirmed COVID-19 deaths — one from Monday and one from July 30 — while Saluda County added one. New cases were in the single digits across the Lakelands. Greenwood County had six new confirmed cases of COVID-19, Laurens County recorded five, Saluda County added three, Abbeville County saw two and McCormick County logged one.

In case you've missed how cases are being reported, this should clear up the matter of "probable" versus "confirmed."

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, DHEC reports. A positive viral test, also called a PCR test or molecular test, alone is enough to classify a confirmed case.

DHEC reports a probable case is an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test performed but has:

1. epidemiologic evidence and clinical evidence of infection, or

2. a positive antibody blood test and either epidemiologic evidence or clinical evidence. (A positive antibody test alone is currently not a reliable method for diagnosing a COVID-19 infection.)

A confirmed death is said to be someone whose death is related to COVID-19 and who tested positive with a confirmatory viral test for COVID-19.

A probable death classification refers to 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.

Cumulative confirmed case totals for Greenwood and surrounding counties are:

Abbeville — 350 (7 deaths)

Edgefield — 326 (6 deaths)

Greenwood — 1,446 (17 deaths)

Laurens — 1,348 (42 deaths)

McCormick — 126 (2 deaths)

Newberry — 864 (9 deaths)

Saluda — 465 (8 deaths)

Testing in South Carolina

As of Tuesday, a total of 857,773 tests have been conducted in the state. See a detailed breakdown of tests in South Carolina on the Data and Projections webpage. DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week, and the Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours

Percent Positive

The total number of individual test results reported Tuesday to DHEC was 3,627 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 19.6%.

More Than 145 Mobile Testing Clinics Scheduled Statewide

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase testing in underserved and rural communities across the state, DHEC is working with community partners to set up mobile testing clinics that bring testing to these communities. Currently, there are 145 mobile testing events scheduled through Sept. 29 with new testing events added regularly. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at scdhec.gov/covid19mobileclinics.

Residents can visit scdhec.gov/covid19testing for information about getting tested at one of 227 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state.

For the latest information related to COVID-19 visit scdhec.gov/COVID-19. Visit scdmh.net for stress, anxiety and mental health resources from the S.C. Department of Mental Health.

COVID-19

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

State health officials reported 393 new confirmed cases and 14 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, as well as 13 additional confirmed deaths.

The COVID-19 safety precautions Greenwood County School District 50 put in place seem to be running smoothly, Superintendent Steve Glenn said at Monday’s school board meeting, but there has been some confusion about when to keep kids at home.

State health officials reported 420 new confirmed cases and 30 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, along with 13 additional confirmed deaths.

State health officials reported 706 new confirmed cases and 40 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, as well as 9 additional confirmed deaths and 2 new probable deaths.

McCormick Correctional Institution has recorded its fourth inmate death from COVID-19.

After a month of a nearly full ICU, Self Regional Medical Center’s chief medical officer said September has seen a downward trend in the number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the Lakelands and the country respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to state and national emergency declarations, it is vital for everyone to have up-to-date information about the virus and its spread. As such, we're providing free access to all of our COVID-19 coverage, which is available on this page.

Here's the latest information on COVID-19 from health agencies and hospitals: