South Carolina neared 150,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday, with a high percentage of those tested receiving a positive result.
The state’s seven-day average for the percent of positive tests is over 14 percent, according to data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. That’s well above the 5 percent or lower benchmark that researchers say would indicate the virus’ spread is slowing.
DHEC officials have encouraged South Carolinians to be tested frequently — at least once a month for those often out in the community or not able to socially distance. More frequent testing could help diagnose those who aren’t showing symptoms but can still spread the virus, officials said.
For Monday’s report, 4,947 people were tested for the virus, with 11 percent of those tests coming back positive.
New cases reported: 545, which is 245 percent more than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.
Total cases in S.C.: 147,116, plus 5,043 probable cases.
New deaths reported: 4
Total deaths in S.C.: 3,258, plus 198 probable deaths.
Hospitalized patients: 593
Total tests in S.C.: 1,512,139
Percent of positive tests, seven-day average: 14.3 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus’ spread is slowing, researchers say.
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The top three South Carolina counties for new coronavirus cases reported on Monday were Greenville, 69; Horry, 61; and Spartanburg, 42.
What about the tri-county?
Charleston County had 21 new cases, Berkeley had 11 and Dorchester had 15.
Of the four new deaths, two were elderly patients aged 65 and older, and two were middle-aged patients aged 35 to 64.
They lived in Barnwell, Lexington, Richland and Spartanburg counties.
Of 593 coronavirus patients who were hospitalized as of Monday, DHEC said, and 150 were in intensive care with 72 on ventilators.
What do experts say?
Public health authorities continue to urge South Carolinians to take precautions like wearing masks or other face coverings, social distancing and frequent hand-washing.
They also urge anyone who believes they’ve been exposed to the virus or who is developing symptoms to get tested.
There are 112 mobile testing events scheduled through Nov. 23 and 316 permanent testing facilities. Go to scdhec.gov/covid19testing to find a testing site in your area.
Reach Fleming Smith at 843-937-5591. Follow her on Twitter at @MFlemingSmith.