Coronavirus updates: What to know this weekend
Note: This is a developing story that will be updated throughout the day with the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects in Upstate South Carolina.
Coronavirus noticias en Carolina del Sur:Empresas que suponen contacto cercano pueden reabrir
SC coronavirus map: A look at COVID-19 cases by county and zip code
Highest number of deaths so far
Saturday's coronavirus death count was the highest the state had reported so far, with 39 deaths. The previous high was set about a week ago at 34 deaths.
On 12 days this month, the state has seen more than 20 deaths. There were no days before this month with 20 or more deaths.
On Sunday the state reported 19 additional deaths and 2,335 new confirmed cases.
Greenville County remains one of the most-affected counties in the state, by raw numbers or by population adjustments.
Greenville had two deaths from elderly people, some of the 16 elderly deaths just added. Anderson, Pickens and Spartanburg counties each had a death from a middle-aged person, the three such deaths recently reported in the state.
The state has not been able to provide data on hospitalization figures since Friday, citing a federal government request to send data through a different system. The state had indicated Saturday that the hospitalization data, which includes the number of patients on ventilators, would be available Sunday.
More than 80 mobile clinics, including at least six in the Upstate, will be available in coming days for rural and underserved communities.
A list of the stops and times is available here.
Data problem stops state from reporting hospitalization figures
There were 39 additional deaths and 1,481 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, according to figures released Saturday by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Greenville and Charleston counties each had 5 new deaths. Spartanburg County had one.
There were 52 new cases in Anderson County, 187 in Greenville County, 43 in Pickens County and 48 in Spartanburg County.
DHEC was not able to provide hospitalization figures due to a "data synchronization error" between the state agency and a private laboratory.
The hospitalization figures include how many hospital beds are taken by patients with or suspected of having COVID-19 as well as the number of patients on ventilators. That information is expected to be provided Sunday, according to the DHEC statement.
Nursing graduates can work temporarily without license
Some nursing graduates have been delayed in being able to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that's required after graduation for official nurse licensure. The testing facilities for those tests had been closed for several weeks. Without a license, nursing graduates can't begin employment so this joint order gives them a pathway to work temporarily while waiting on the exam.
“This joint order with the State Board of Nursing is a vital step towards making sure our hospitals, clinics and health care facilities have skilled, newly trained nurses available to assist South Carolinians during this prolonged public health crisis,” said Marshall Taylor, DHEC Acting Director. “Through this joint effort with the State Board of Nursing and LLR, we’re able to ensure that more help is on the way for the care and treatment of patients seeking medical care and treatment.”
There are currently more than 85,000 nurses licensed in the state, and this joint order could impact approximately 200 current nursing graduates, making them employable by health care providers.
DHEC announces new numbers
DHEC announced 1,964 new confirmed cases and 25 additional confirmed deaths Friday. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 65,857 and confirmed deaths to 1,078.
There are currently 1,593 hospital beds occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19, and 567 of those patients are currently on ventilators.
The total number of individual test results reported to DHEC yesterday statewide was 11,257 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 17.4%.
SC's DHEC is asking South Carolinians to "Mask Up" as part of a new statewide campaign aimed at encouraging youth and young adults to embrace wearing a face mask.
Episcopal Diocese of Upper SC supports Spearman's approach to reopening schools
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina sent a letter to the governor asking him to re-evaluate his statement that all schools should give parents the option of full in-person learning this fall.
Gov. Henry McMaster made the announcement during a press conference Wednesday, which state Superintendent Molly Spearman did not participate in.
Spearman said she believed the decision to allow students back for five days a week should be up to individual school districts.
The letter, which was signed by six bishops of different denominations, said they stand ready to support McMaster, but they questioned his directive on reopening school.
“We, like you and so many others, long for the day when it will be safe to return to the kind of gathering that sustains and nourishes us all in church, in school, in work, and through various kinds of recreation,” the letter said. “We believe that time has not arrived for South Carolina. The high number of cases of COVID-19 and the percentage of infections being reported daily across the state are more than alarming, with no dependable forecast of reductions. These metrics are primary barometers informing our own decisions.”
SC unemployment decreased in June
South Carolina unemployment decreased significantly since last month, from 12.4% in May to 8.7% in June, according to a jobs report released Friday. There are about 210,721 people who remain unemployed.
Unemployment reached 12.8% in April following statewide shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic that halted much of the economy.
Gov. Henry McMaster was optimistic following the new report from the state Department of Employment and Workforce.
"This news shows that South Carolina is leading the way in our economic recovery efforts and that we can, and will, overcome any challenge by working together, being smart, and showing compassion for our neighbors," he said in a prepared statement. "We must maintain this momentum by continuing to get South Carolinians back to work in the safest way possible because we must ensure the future economic health of our state and our people.”
Greenville County's unemployment rate reflected the statewide trend, dropping from 12.1% in May to 8.4% in June. The unemployment rate in the county last June was 2.7%.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are 'ridiculously out of control' in Upstate SC, Prisma doc says
A Prisma Health physician warned Friday that a "ridiculously out of control" surge in hospitalized COVID-19 patients could push Upstate hospitals to their limits in the next week or two unless the trend slows.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients that Prisma Health Upstate is carrying for has soared from around 40 on June 7 to 176 on July 16, according to information distributed after a media briefing Friday.
TR mask ordinance goes into effect Saturday
The city of Travelers Rest’s emergency ordinance mandating face covering goes into effect Saturday at 6 p.m. and will remain in effect for 60 days, a release said.
The ordinance will require all customers to wear a face covering while inside any grocery store or pharmacy.
It also requires retail and food service establishments in the city to require staff to wear face coverings while working in areas open to the public, according to a release.
What to know Friday
- SC DHEC Thursday announced the most COVID-19 associated deaths reported out for a single day, 69 confirmed, however, the deaths of the individuals occurred over the past few weeks.
- South Carolina surpassed 1,000 COVID-19 deaths Thursday.
- State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said Thursday that COVID-19 cases are increasing in 45 of South Carolina’s 46 counties, based on data from the past two weeks.
- A Charleston County dog has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, a release said.