State health officials announced 217 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday and six more deaths associated with the fast-spreading respiratory disease.
Among the new cases is a 10th Greenwood County resident. Saluda County increased to four cases.
The six deaths were all among patients who were at least 60 years old and had medical problems. Two were Lexington County residents, while the others were from Beaufort, Georgetown, Richland and York counties.
So far, 1,917 South Carolinians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 40 deaths have been linked to the virus. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control does not track how many people have recovered from 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.
To date, 18,314 coronavirus tests have been completed on South Carolinians between public and private labs.
Department of Corrections
While no inmates have tested positive, 16 state Department of Corrections employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Six are at facilities in Columbia — two are at Broad River Correctional and two work at Camille Graham Correctional — while one works at Turbeville Correctional in Clarendon Countyand another works at Livesay Correctional in Spartanburg. Eight are noninstitutional staff members, meaning they aren't stationed at a prison.
As of Saturday afternoon, no one associated with a Lakelands prison has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
To reduce the risk of infection to inmates and staff, the agency suspended visitation and has allowed only essential staff into its facilities in recent weeks. In addition to the other screenings performed while entering a prison, officers have had their temperatures checked to make sure they didn't have fevers.