News Releases

News Releases

Dr. Bell: “Every day that we don’t all do our part, we extend the duration of this virus,” Latest COVID-19 Update (June 18, 2020)

June 18, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Today, State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell issued the following statement strongly urging South Carolinians to continue to take public health precautions amid concerns over the recent rise in COVID-19 data trends.

“Every one of us has a role to play in stopping COVID-19. This virus does not spread on its own. It’s spread around our state by infected people who carry it wherever they go – their work, the supermarket, the post office, a friend’s house. By not following public health precautions, many are putting all at risk.

It is essential that each of us, every day, wear a mask in public and stay physically distanced from others.

We understand that what we’re continuing to ask of everyone is not easy and that many are tired of hearing the same warnings and of taking the same daily precautions, but this virus does not take a day off. Every day that we don’t all do our part, we are extending the duration of illnesses, missed work, hospitalizations and deaths in our state.

There is no vaccine for COVID-19. There are only individual behaviors and actions we must all maintain that help stop its spread.

Healthy people may feel they are resistant to the virus, may feel that even if they contract it, they’ll have mild symptoms and feel better in a few days. This may be true for some – but it’s also true that we are seeing hospitalizations and deaths in those who were previously healthy and in almost every age group.

Historically, South Carolinians have willingly made sacrifices for the benefit of all. Stopping the spread of this disease will not be easy. However, I am confident in our willingness to take the current actions necessary of wearing face masks and social distancing in order to care for each other. Together we can meet this challenge.”

Latest COVID-19 Update (June 18, 2020)
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced 987 new confirmed cases and nine new probable cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and four additional confirmed deaths.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 21,533, probable cases to 15, confirmed deaths to 621, and zero probable deaths. Three of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Florence (1), Kershaw (1), and Lancaster (1) counties, and one (1) death occurred in an middle-aged individual from Lancaster County. There are currently no probable deaths. 

The number of new confirmed cases by county are listed below.
Aiken (10), Anderson (14), Bamberg (3), Beaufort (48), Berkeley (24), Calhoun (1), Charleston (139), Chester (1), Chesterfield (4), Cherokee (1), Colleton (3), Clarendon (2), Darlington (4), Dillon (10), Dorchester (20), Fairfield (5), Florence (16), Georgetown (42), Greenville (169), Greenwood (1), Horry (128), Jasper (9), Kershaw (16), Lancaster (7), Laurens (10), Lee (7), Lexington (45), Marion (5), Marlboro (4), Newberry (6), Oconee (5), Orangeburg (13), Pickens (19), Richland (79), Saluda (3), Spartanburg (42), Sumter (34), Union (2), Williamsburg (7), York (29)

The number of new probable cases are listed below. Greenville (2), Kershaw (2), Laurens (1), Lexington (1), Pickens (1), Richland (2)

Testing in South Carolina
As of yesterday, a total of 313,210 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. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.

Free COVID-19 Testing Event to be Held at Benedict College
Residents are invited to attend a free testing event at Benedict College’s Charles W. Johnson Stadium in Columbia, S.C. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.

This free event is open to the public and will provide local communities in the Columbia area access to free drive-up testing and essential supplies to help lessen the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

For those needing assistance traveling to the event, THE COMET is offering a reservation, dial-a-ride service for people getting tested. Call 803-255-7124 30 minutes in advance and to secure a ride to and from the testing site. For more information about the event, click here.

DHEC continues to work with community partners to increase testing in communities across the state. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at

You can also get tested at one of 171 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state. Visit for more information.

Percent Positive Test Trends among Reported COVID-19 Cases
The total number of individuals tested yesterday statewide was 6,854 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 14.4%. When the percent positive is low, it may indicate that more widespread testing is being performed and the percent positive may more accurately reflect how much disease is present in the community.

Hospital Bed Occupancy
As of this morning, 3,583 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,021 are in use, which is a 70.59% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,021 inpatient beds currently used, 626 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

For the latest information related to COVID-19 visit

*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.



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