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DHEC now reporting probable COVID-19 cases

Staff Report //June 18, 2020//

DHEC now reporting probable COVID-19 cases

Staff Report //June 18, 2020//

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Thursday totals reported by DHEC.

South Carolina has begun reporting probable COVID-19 cases and deaths, becoming the 23rd state to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to provide such information.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reports zero probable deaths as of June 14 in the state, with 15 probable cases as of Thursday. DHEC announced a single-day record of 987 new confirmed cases and nine new probable cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as well as four additional confirmed deaths. That brings S.C.'s total to 21,533 confirmed cases and 621 confirmed deaths.

The probable case numbers are available on a new DHEC website.

S.C. had 20,551 confirmed cases and 617 confirmed deaths as of Wednesday, when DHEC announced 577 new confirmed cases and 10 additional confirmed deaths.

Confirmed cases represent individuals who tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 after a throat or nose swab. A probable case represents an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test but who has epidemiologic and clinical evidence of infection, or such evidence in addition to a positive antibody blood test.

Confirmed deaths represent individuals whose death is related to COVID-19 and who test positive for the virus. Probable deaths represent individuals who were not tested but whose death certificates list COVID-19 or the virus that causes it as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

As of Wednesday, 313,210 tests had been conducted in South Carolina, according to DHEC. Of the 6,854 conducted Wednesday, 14.4% tested positive.

As of Thursday, 626 of the 7,021 hospital beds in use in the state were occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19. On Wednesday, COVID-19 patients occupied 607 of 7,411 beds. 

In announcing Thursday's totals, state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell urged S.C. residents to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

"Every one of us has role to play in stopping COVID-19," Bell said. "This virus does not spread on its own. … By not following public health precautions, many are putting all at risk.

"It is essential that each of us, every day, wear a mask in public and stay physically distanced from others."