BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – There has been a significant increase in the number of deaths in Berkeley County so far this year, and there are several factors causing the increase.
“We’re about 120 over where we were last year at this time,” said Berkeley County Coroner George Oliver.
In 2018, Berkeley County only had more than 100 deaths per month in two months of the year. This year they are averaging more than 100 deaths per month.
Berkeley County Deaths:
- 953 people have died in Berkeley County this year.
- 1,091 people died in Berkeley County last year.
- We will soon pass 2016’s total at 989.
To put that in perspective, 953 people have died in 2019. In 2018 at this time, 831 people had died in Berkeley County. That means so far this year, 122 more people are dead this year than last.
The biggest contributor to the rise in deaths?
“The amount of people moving into our county, as well as the industry and everything, we’re one of the fastest-growing counties in the state as well as the nation,” said Oliver.
The main cause of death remains natural causes like cancer or other medical issues.
“Our other factors are accidental overdoses,” said Oliver. “Overdoses are a big thing and we have a surge in the opioid epidemic, which we are seeing our share of that as well.”
There have been 16 homicides so far this year in Berkeley County. Eight of those happened prior to July 1st, but another eight happened just since July 1st.
They have even had to expand their staff at the Coroner’s office.
“We’re staying extremely busy. I was fortunate enough to be able to hire an additional deputy corner in September which is been an asset to us. He’s doing a great job, but he’s been busy as well.”