Gov. McMaster, state health officials encourage use of masks, social distancing as COVID-19 cases rise

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and state health officials provided an update on the coronavirus and its impact on the state Wednesday.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said that she is more concerned about our COVID-19 situation now than ever before and cited recent spikes in daily case counts and increasing percent positive.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 528 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total number of cases to 15,759. The statewide death toll from the virus stands at 575.

Dr. Bell and Governor McMaster urged all residents to wear a mask and practice proper social distancing measures; however, he said wearing a mask would not be a requirement because there are “just some limits to what the government can mandate,” he said.

McMaster said we slowed the virus down enough to arm ourselves with the knowledge of what we need to do to be safe,” he said. “Now, what I’m saying, as we’ve said from the beginning, is we now need to practice what we have learned.”

He encouraged people to wear a mask in large gatherings and remember to stand at least 6-feet away from people in public spaces. “Be smart. There’s a lot of stupid floating around out there…,” he said.

McMaster said he has no intention of closing businesses, but said people need to practice proper social distancing.

He is also recommending $215M in funding be given to public schools to be used for 5 additional days of class before the official start of the school year, or extended school hours, to make up for missed learning due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

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