News Releases

News Releases

DHEC’s Third Data Analysis of Mask Ordinances Continues to Show Effectiveness of Masks; Latest COVID-19 Update (September 18, 2020)

September 18, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is sharing updated data that shows communities with mask requirement ordinances in place continue to see a slower rate of disease spread compared to communities without mask requirements.

On August 12, DHEC released the initial findings of its data analysis of the counties and municipalities that have implemented mask requirements for individuals when in public as a protection measure against COVID-19. DHEC issued a second mask analysis update on August 25. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division provides a map showing the counties and municipalities that currently have mask requirements in place, which is available on the home page of

“This updated data analysis continues to show that jurisdictions with a mask ordinance remain effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 when compared to those jurisdictions without an ordinance in place,” said Dr. Michael Kacka, DHEC Physician and Chief Medical Officer. “The data reinforces what we’ve already known: the proper wearing of masks helps stop the spread of this deadly virus.”

Today’s updated data indicates:

  • Nearly 42 percent of residents, or approximately 2,100,000 South Carolinians, reside in jurisdictions that have local mask requirements in place.
  • For this most recent analysis, jurisdictions with a mask ordinance were categorized into week of initiation, meaning the week the ordinance took effect, with five weeks of mask ordinance initiations considered:
    • First week: June 23-June 29 
    • Second week: June 30-July 6
    • Third week: July 7-July 13
    • Fourth week: July 14-July 20 
    • Fifth week: July 21-July 27 
  • When comparing the jurisdictions that have mask requirements in place to those jurisdictions that don't, the jurisdictions with mask requirements have experienced a greater percent decrease in cases one month after their ordinance initiation, as follows:
    • First week: 66.5% greater decrease
    • Second week: 39.2% greater decrease
    • Third week: 6.1% greater decrease,
    • Fourth week 3.5% greater decrease
    • Fifth week: no greater percent decrease

Latest COVID-19 Update (September 18, 2020)

DHEC announced 766 new confirmed cases and 36 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, 21 additional confirmed deaths and no new probable deaths.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 133,310, probable cases to 3,008, confirmed deaths to 3,010, and 167 probable deaths.

Confirmed and probable cases: please click here.
Confirmed and probable deaths: please click here.

Who Should Get Tested? 
If you are out and about in the community, around others, or not able to socially distance or wear a mask, we recommend that you get tested at least once a month
Routine testing allows public health workers to diagnose those who are asymptomatic and interrupt the ongoing spread of the virus. Learn more about who should get tested here.

Nearly 600 Testing Opportunities Available Statewide
Testing for COVID-19 is essential because it helps identify people who are infected with the virus, whether they have symptoms or not.

DHEC is working with community partners to set up mobile testing clinics and make testing available in communities across the state. Currently, there are 359 mobile testing events scheduled through October 31 and there are 236 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state. Find a testing clinic or event near you at

Testing in South Carolina
As of yesterday, a total of 1,205,736 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 to DHEC yesterday statewide was 6,324 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 12.1%.

Hospital Bed Occupancy
Hospitals report their information each day to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by way of TeleTracking, and that same reporting is also provided to DHEC. Click here to view data from today's TeleTracking report.

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

*As new information is provided to the department, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 map will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.



Media Relations Statewide