DHEC Announces Additional Possible Case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in South Carolina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 11, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating one new possible case of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, the agency announced today. This brings the total number of presumptive positive cases to eight, along with two confirmed cases.
New preliminary information
- The new case is a woman from Lancaster County. A contact investigation is underway, and at this time there is no known travel outside the state or known contact with another case. Her samples tested positive at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory. The patient is currently hospitalized and isolated. DHEC is working with the healthcare facility and taking routine measures to prevent possible spread.
While the sample tested positive at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory, the results are required to be confirmed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). DHEC treats all presumptive positives as cases of COVID-19.
“Our top priorities remain preventing spread of the disease and protecting public health,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “Our systems for protecting public health are working. We’re continuing to work with the CDC and our state and local partners, however, based on what’s occurring in other states and countries, we expect community spread to grow.”
DHEC has tested a total of 51 individuals for COVID-19, which includes the eight presumptive positive cases and two confirmed cases. DHEC will update the public as soon as the confirmatory test results from the CDC or other reference laboratories that are now testing are available, and as other new information is known.
“We understand residents will have concerns about this indication of community spread, however, I urge the public to remain calm and follow recommendations to prevent the spread of illness, particularly those who are older or those who have underlying health conditions because they may have more severe illness if infected,” Bell said.
At this time, precautions are recommended to maintain daily routines of protecting against illness by practicing good hygiene, washing your hands, covering your cough. Individuals with signs of illness are asked to take seriously the recommendation to stay home from school and work and not attend public gatherings.
Residents who are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should call their personal doctor or healthcare provider. If an individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, MUSC Health is providing free telehealth screening to all South Carolinians. Anyone experiencing symptoms can visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 and be screened without having to leave your home.
The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 1-855-472-3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week. Because 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. For general questions about COVID-19, visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.