CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Leaders with the City of Charleston met with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday to discuss preparations for possible cases of the coronavirus in the Lowcountry.
The death toll continues to rise in the United States with at least nine deaths so far. National health officials say there are at least 60 cases of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S., including one case in Wake County, North Carolina, which was announced on Tuesday.
There are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in South Carolina right now, but state health officials say they are monitoring the outbreak and hot it may impact the Palmetto State.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and other city leaders are consulting with federal, state and regional officials to ensure that Charleston is fully prepared for the coronavirus.
During a meeting on Wednesday, Dr. Katy Richardson, medical director with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, updated city leaders on the virus and said there is no cure for the COVID-19 strand, but a vaccine is in the works.
While DHEC can test 100 patients a day for the virus, the test is not available to medical professionals at this time. The goal is to ramp up testing and make it available to hospitals and medical providers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard are monitoring cruise ships arriving in the Port of Charleston and are empowered to take appropriate steps regarding public safety.
Mayor Tecklenburg says the city will not recommend social distancing or limit large gatherings until cases are confirmed in the Lowcountry.
“At this point, we are doing all the preparation and communication, and make those decisions at that time,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control expects the virus to become a global pandemic. World-wide, there are more than 92,000 confirmed cases.