News Releases

News Releases

S.C. State Epidemiologist Emphasizes Importance of DHEC and Hospitals Working Together to Support Coronavirus Response Efforts

Feb. 6, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. — State Epidemiologist Linda Bell, MD, met with leaders from hospitals across the state this week to discuss the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s ongoing 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) response efforts.

“While the risk to South Carolinians remains low, it is critical that DHEC partners with hospitals and health care facilities to prepare for and respond to the 2019-nCoV outbreak,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “We have developed strong relationships with our health providers through the years, and have planned, prepared and tested our ability to respond to public health threats like this.”

Click on the photo above for video of Dr. Bell’s remarks.

The discussion was part of the South Carolina Hospital Association’s (SCHA) annual meeting.

Thornton Kirby, president and CEO of the SCHA, echoed the importance of hospitals and DHEC working together. “We are grateful for DHEC’s proactive leadership in helping prepare the state’s hospitals and health systems for the threat of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. In times like these, we’re all on the same team working to protect public health in South Carolina,” Kirby said.

During her remarks, Dr. Bell provided an update on the virus and South Carolina’s ongoing preparation activities.

While this is a serious and rapidly evolving public health matter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to believe that currently the risk to the American public remains low. At this time, no cases have been identified in South Carolina.

“We understand that residents may have concerns about how the virus may impact South Carolinians,” Bell said. “Our ongoing goal remains prevention.”

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure to the virus. DHEC and the CDC currently recommend avoiding all nonessential travel to China. No additional precautions are recommended for the public at this time, beyond the simple daily precautions that everyone should always take to stop the spread of illness, including: 

  • getting the flu vaccine,
  • washing your hands,
  • covering your cough, and
  • appropriately disposing tissues and other items that you've sneezed or coughed into. 

To receive the latest updates on this new virus, go to

A fact sheet on the virus, including tips to protect yourself, is available here.

Graphics about the virus and how to prevent it, are available by clicking the links below. 



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