We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
Cases top 116,000
At least 116,697 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 2,574 have died, according to state officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Sunday reported 1,019 new cases of the virus, down from 1,250 Saturday, which broke a 13-day streak during which fewer than 1,000 new daily cases were reported.
Officials on Sunday also reported 11 additional coronavirus-related deaths.
Health officials have said fewer people getting tested for the virus is likely contributing to lower daily case counts. But reported tests jumped from fewer than 2,500 Wednesday to more than 6,000 Saturday — still below the roughly 10,000 daily tests in late July.
About 21.5% of tests reported Sunday came back positive, up from 20.5% the day before. The World Health Organization and state health officials recommend 5% or lower.
Record cases reported in Richland
More than one-third of new coronavirus cases reported Sunday in South Carolina were in Richland County.
The DHEC reported 396 cases in the county Sunday — a record and the second day in a row it had the most new cases in the state. It was also the fourth consecutive day that more than 100 new cases were reported.
The previous record in the county was 228 cases in mid-July.
The record comes as the University of South Carolina resumed classes this month and has reported an increasing number of cases, The State reports.
Between the first day of classes on Aug. 20 and Aug. 25, 183 cases were reported. As of Aug. 27, the school reported 557 active cases on campus, 553 of which were among students.
Officials break up party
The Columbia Fire Department broke up a pool party near USC Saturday evening.
Hundreds were at the party and not following the city’s mask ordinance or social distancing rules. The fire department received tips about it from residents.
“It was almost like Mardi Gras,” Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins told The State. “I saw a large crowd in the pool, in the area on the side of the pool, and on top of the pool house.”
Jenkins said there were a couple hundred people in the pool area at The Apartments at Palmetto Compress.
“If nothing was going on (like the COVID-19 pandemic), there still would have been too many people in the pool,” Jenkins told The State. “Nobody was practicing social distancing. Nobody was wearing a mask. But there was lots of drinking going on.”
High school football returns
South Carolina Independent Schools kicked off their football season Friday as the coronavirus pandemic has put high school sports in question.
Hammond and Ben Lippen, two private schools in the Columbia area, faced off on the first Friday night since schools started again. Heathwood Hall also played Laurence Manning. In the Lowcountry, Hilton Head Christian Academy faced off with Dorchester Academy.
The atmosphere wasn’t exactly normal, but parents, fans, players and coaches told The Island Packet they were glad to be back.
Coaches were wearing masks, and fans also wore face coverings and social distanced. There were also no handshakes between teams, The State reported Saturday.
Public schools in South Carolina will start their football seasons Sept. 25, and some coaches attended the games Friday to prepare.
Health officials urge more testing
State health officials are urging more residents to get tested for COVID-19, even if they have mild symptoms
Lawmakers have pushed the DHEC to test 10% of South Carolina’s population each month, but the department has been falling short of that goal.
Now, officials say everyone with symptoms should get tested, even if they are mild or thought to be seasonal allergies. Those who have been exposed or concerned they were exposed should also be tested.
The recommendation comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week changed its guidance to say those who do not have symptoms don’t “necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”
“If for any reason our recommendations changes, certainly we’ll make everyone aware,” Brannon Traxler, a physician with DHEC, said.
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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.