COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Health officials in the Palmetto State are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and potential impacts to the state.
While there are no confirmed cases in South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it is currently monitoring 13 cases of the COVID-19 strand of the coronavirus.
During a conference call on Wednesday, DHEC said between January and March 3rd, the CDC informed SC health officials of 138 South Carolinians who traveled to an infected area.
Of those people, they said 61 did not need any monitoring. 49 others went through 14-day monitoring and no one tested positive.
Earlier this week, The Director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, Rick Toomey, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized DHEC’s lab to conduct testing in the state and made its test kits available to state health officials.
“Samples do not have to be sent from any hospital in the state to Atlanta, they can come to Columbia,” he said during a press conference with Gov. Henry McMaster.
In order to be tested, patients must meet the criteria provided by the CDC.
The department said they are very closing monitoring the ‘rapidly evolving situation’ both worldwide and in the United States, but again said there are no confirmed cases in South Carolina at this time.
DHEC says it will notify the public if there were to be a confirmed case.
McMaster said he will continue to meet and communicate to be sure that South Carolina is way ahead of everybody in getting the best information and disseminating it to the citizens.
Should you be tested? DHEC says to call your doctor if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Otherwise, continue to protect yourself from the spread of coronavirus by implementing everyday preventative actions including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
DHEC says the flu us a much greater issue than COVID-19.