SPECIAL REPORT, Monday April 6, 2020
It’s been a trying time the last few weeks and everything is so different from just a few weeks ago. The demands of responding to the coronavirus outbreak have placed burdens upon many. While I’m especially thankful for the first responders and health care professionals who go above and beyond the normal call of duty every day, it means so much to see how so many our community have rallied by donating needed supplies, supported local businesses and been supportive of those in need. Everything we do, no matter how big or small, matters.
I have never been more proud to represent this area in Columbia. We should all be proud of how we’ve not allowed these tough times to make us cold or uncaring. While we’re social distancing, many of us have become closer than before. We’ll emerge from this better as people and stronger as a community.
The General Assembly will meet for a brief session on Wednesday. Arrangements have been made to sanitize the chambers and arrange seating so members can distance themselves from each other. We plan to meet to do two things:
1) Adopt an extension allowing the legislature to meet beyond its legally-required deadline of the end of May. This will allow us to resume work later in the year when conditions will allow us to work safely.
2) Adopt a continuing resolution to keep state government open past the end of the fiscal year at the end of June. It’s become clear the state budget which the House passed will require considerable revisions. Until we can meet safely and have a clearer picture of the state’s financial picture and needs, we can’t really complete the work on an appropriate 2020-2021 state budget.
Here’s additional information you can use to keep informed:
South Carolina Cases
DHEC’s COVID-19 webpage is updated daily with a
map of positive cases
as well as the most current recommendations for protecting against COVID-19.
Testing in South Carolina
As of April 3, DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL) has conducted 7,017 tests for COVID-19. Of these tests, 806 were positive and 6,211 were negative. A total of 18,314 tests by both DHEC and private labs have been conducted in the state. DHEC’s PHL is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The PHL has now received adequate levels of reagent to continue testing without delays; the lab is operating extended hours and testing specimens seven days a week. The current timeframe for providing results to healthcare providers is 24 to 48 hours, with specimens typically tested the same day received.
Hospital Bed Capacity
As of April 3, 5,807 hospital beds are available and 6,362 are utilized, which is a 51.9 percent statewide hospital bed utilization rate. The overall trend this past week has been in greater hospital bed availability, specifically a 6.4 percent decrease in hospital bed utilization since March 23.
How South Carolinians Can Protect Themselves
South Carolinians are strongly encouraged to stay home and minimize contact with people outside their households to prevent the spread of the disease. Other steps the public should take include:
Monitoring for symptoms
Practicing social distancing
Avoiding touching frequently touched items
Regularly washing your hands
Anyone with concerns about their health should reach out to their healthcare provider or use the telehealth services provided by several health care systems. For telehealth options and the latest information about DHEC’s COVID-19 response efforts, please visit
for issues related to stress.
For general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day in English and Spanish.
COVID-19 county map
provides the number of cases by county and is updated daily. As the state’s number of positive cases expectedly increases, DHEC will continue to provide the number of positive cases and the county of residence. This map also shows the locations of hospitals, specimen collection sites, and alternate care sites.
· The latest confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code are available
. In addition, the agency is working to develop estimated cases by ZIP code and anticipates having the data available by Monday, April 6. These estimated counts will represent individuals who are potentially undiagnosed. By including estimates, DHEC hopes to better convey more meaningful information about the risk of disease spread in our community. I encourage everyone to continue to take action to protect themselves and those they love.
· DHEC has updated the heat map. The map is now animated to show change over time and can be found
. The heat map shows the number of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days, an estimate of when an individual may be contagious. However, there are many people within our communities who have the virus and have never been tested, and because of this, we’ll never have information that accurately represents every case of COVID-19. Regardless of the number of reported cases within an area, all South Carolinians should take seriously the recommended precautions for protecting against the disease.
· Strategic National Stockpile: The allocation for the third wave of PPE received from the Strategic National Stockpile delivered to the counties Thursday and Friday of this week can be found
· PPE Request and Distribution Plan: DHEC is working with the S.C. Emergency Management Division on a Medical PPE Request and Distribution Plan.
· PPE Requests: Healthcare facilities/providers seeking assistance with obtaining PPE should work through their county emergency management office
These requesting entities are responsible for the costs of any PPE received.
· PPE Vendor Offers: DHEC has received many offers from vendors regarding PPE. As the S.C. Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) is ordering PPE for resource requests, and DHEC is only ordering small amounts for our health departments, SCEMD has established an email address for vendors that are interested in conducting business with the state for COVID19 response. These vendors should send their information to
For the latest up-to-date information, visit:
For general questions about COVID-19, call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8am to 6pm every day.
For SCDHEC updates, visit:
For the latest news from the Governor including his executive orders, visit:
Free Online COVID-19 Screenings
(all use promo code “COVID19”)
Department of Education
– All public schools remain closed until further notice.
Commission on Higher Education
– Gov. McMaster recommended that all colleges and universities allow students to continue classes online for the duration of the semester. This may continue beyond the end of the spring semester.
Department of Revenue
– Tax extensions because of COVID-19:
Small Business Association
- Disaster assistance loans of up to $2 million for affected businesses:
Department of Employment and Workforce
– Collecting unemployment because of COVID-19
Information on avoiding Coronavirus scams from FTC: