South Carolina surpassed 1 million tests for the coronavirus on Sunday, and health officials are encouraging more people to get tested.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control released new recommendations for testing on Sunday. It advised that many people with the virus have mild or no symptoms but can still spread COVID-19 to those around them.
Anyone who would like to be tested should be tested, DHEC said. Routine testing of individuals with known exposures or concerns about exposures should be tested, according to the agency’s recommendations.
“If you are out and about in the community or around others, participating in group events, or not able to socially distance or wear a mask, we recommend that you receive routine testing once a month or sooner if someone you’ve been around tests positive or if you develop symptoms,” DHEC physician Dr. Brannon Traxler said.
A person with any of the following symptoms should seek testing, DHEC said, listing fever or chills, a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, body aches, fatigue, headache, congestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Those who have been around anyone who recently tested positive or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms should get tested, DHEC said, along with anyone who was within 6 feet of others for more than 15 minutes without wearing a mask.
Testing has been low in South Carolina during the past few weeks, although the number of tests coming back positive has still been high. More than 1,000 new cases were reported on Sunday out of 4,730 tests.
Richland County saw a spike over the weekend, with 190 new cases reported on Saturday and 396 on Sunday.
There are 237 mobile testing clinics scheduled through Oct. 17. Residents can go to scdhec.gov/covid19testing for information about getting tested at a mobile clinic or one of 223 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities.
New cases reported: 1,019
Total cases in S.C.: 116,697, plus 1,627 probable cases
New deaths reported: 11
Total deaths in S.C.: 2,574, plus 135 probable deaths
Hospitalized patients: 956
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Percent of positive tests: 21.5 percent
Total tests in S.C.: 1,006,606
Richland County had the state’s highest number of new daily cases by far with 396, according to DHEC. Charleston County followed with 89 and Lexington County had 52.
What about the tri-county?
In addition to Charleston County’s 89 new cases, Berkeley had 13 and Dorchester had 21.
One Charleston and two Dorchester residents died after being infected, DHEC said.
Of the new confirmed deaths, one was age 18 to 34 and 10 were over 65. They lived in Florence, Charleston, Spartanburg, Dorchester, Hampton, Richland, Darlington, Orangeburg, Chesterfield and Horry counties.
DHEC reported 956 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Sunday. Of these, 143 were on ventilators and 250 were in intensive care.
What do experts say?
Authorities continue to urge South Carolinians to avoid being indoors or within 6 feet of unmasked people. Several municipalities have formalized the request with local ordinances.
Reach Fleming Smith at 843-937-5591. Follow her on Twitter at @MFlemingSmith.