DHEC investigating two possible cases of COVID-19 in SC; one MUSC staff member

Coronavirus

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating two “presumptive positive” cases of the novel Coronavirus in South Carolina.

In a press release, DHEC said that the cases are not linked.

The first patient, an elderly woman in Kershaw County, has been hospitalized and is in isolation.

The second patient is a woman in Charleston County who is self-isolated at home. She recently traveled to France and Italy, according to DHEC. MUSC confirmed that she is a staff member.

MUSC commended the woman on practicing “excellent public health and social responsibility by pursuing testing, taking appropriate hygienic precautions and self-quarantining at home.”

MUSC emphasized that the woman DID NOT return to work after her travels.

The test results still need confirmation from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which typically takes 24-48 hours. DHEC plans to “update the public as soon as the test results from the CDC are available.”

DHEC has tested a total of 10 individuals so far, including the two presumptive positive cases. They have the capacity to test 80-100 patients per day, if necessary.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, said that the risk to the public is currently low, and that “there is no evidence of ongoing transmission in the community at this time and our primary goals remain prevention and control.”

Governor Henry McMaster plans to fully address the subject in a media briefing at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, but issued the following preliminary statement:

“Healthcare authorities in South Carolina have been preparing for this eventuality and there is no reason for public alarm. DHEC is working with the CDC on confirmation for these cases. South Carolinians should continue to follow recommendations and information provided by official sources.”

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