COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — There are plenty of signs in the statistics that South Carolina is seeing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday each had more than 300 new cases reported, the only days where new cases have topped 300 since the coronavirus was first detected in South Carolina in early March. Health officials reported 297 new cases Monday.
A daily record of 20 deaths were reported Wednesday and the seven day average for deaths is also climbing as the number of people killed by the virus reached 500 on Monday.
The percent of positive tests averaged over 14 days, a statistic health officials say they are following carefully, is heading up too.
But Gov. Henry McMaster has suggested in recent days any mass closings in the state for the virus are over and people will need to be responsible for their own health and preventing the spread of the virus.
“We can’t have an epidemiologist, a police officer, and a mama and a daddy following everybody around reminding them what they’re supposed to do. The virus is still here. It’s just as deadly as it was before, and it can be fatal, so we must be careful," McMaster said last week.
State health officials didn't talk Monday about the increase in cases, including Saturday's 420 positive COVID-19 infections. The total originally announced was 154 fewer, but workers double checking the numbers found they were wrong, the Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a statement.
Some increase in positive tests was expected. In March and April, South Carolina conducted less than 16,000 COVID-19 tests. Just in May, about 190,000 tests have been done as officials concentrated on testing all nursing home workers and residents as well as anyone else in the state who wanted one.
South Carolina also started lifting stay-at-home orders and allowing businesses to reopen about four weeks ago. The only things still closed are schools, bowling alleys and places where large crowds would gather like arenas and concert halls.
There also has been a noticeable increase in cases in the Upstate, especially Greenville County, which recently passed Richland County for the most cases in the state.
DHEC Director of Public Health Joan Duwve said Friday her employees were following leads to figure out what was going on, but had no concrete ideas.
“We haven’t really identified a pattern," she said.
Nearly 12,150 COVID-19 cases have been reported in South Carolina with at least 500 deaths, according to DHEC's Monday update.
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