Increased testing and social gatherings likely playing role in increased COVID-19 cases

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Coronavirus numbers have been on the rise over the last two weeks since Memorial Day as restrictions here in the Lowcountry and across the country continue to be lifted.

The number of Coronavirus cases across the state and in the Lowcountry have seen a steady increase, today the state saw its largest jump in cases since the pandemic began. Doctors say the increase could be due to increased testing as well as social gatherings.

“We are doing more testing that’s absolutely true and we’re probably finding more what we call asymptomatic COVID patients,” says Chief Medical Officer of Population Health and Ambulatory Care for Roper St. Francis, Dr. Robert Oliverio.

Dr. Oliverio from Roper Saint Francis says as the percentage of those tested increases, the number of positive cases will follow.

“That’s a leading indicator that as to you know, you’re going to be seeing more cases as time goes on,” says Dr. Oliverio.

Dr. Oliverio says even though some restrictions have been lifted, safety guidelines should remain in place.

“These sorts of things are still requirements to keep this epidemic at bay so I think we’re seeing that relaxed and I think we’re seeing the results of that,” says Dr. Oliverio.

As restrictions are lifted, Dr. Oliverio says if we aren’t careful we could see reopening measures slowed.

“When we reopen societies it’s going to be a delicate dance you’re going to take one foot in and then you’re going to step one foot back a bit,” says Dr. Oliverio.

And while testing capabilities are increasing, Dr. Oliverio says events like Memorial Day gatherings and protests are also likely to lead to spike in case numbers.

“Absolutely, anytime you get a group of people together if they’re not doing what needs to be done, you’re going to see a risk of transmission,” says Dr. Oliverio.

In a telebriefing today, DHEC officials say as of right now there is no formal plan to ask the Governor to require masks, they also say they are monitoring the increased hospital utilization rate but are not considering adding additional beds.

Doctors say it’s important for people to continue to follow guidelines such as wearing masks and frequently washing your hands as they begin to leave home more often.

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