Gov. McMaster extends state of emergency as South Carolina coronavirus cases continue to spike
Health official more concerned about COVID-19 in state ‘than ever before’
FOR HOW YOU ARE GOING TO ACT, AND THE OPPORTUNITIES YOU GIVE US, AND WE PRAY IN YOUR HOLY NAME. AMEN. GOVERNOR MCMASTER: WELCOME. WE WILL HAVE SOME INFORMATION TRY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS. DR. LINDA HEALTH — DR. LINDA BELL FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL. DR. BELL: GOOD AFTERNOON. TODAY WE ANNOUNCED 528 NEW CASES OF COVID-19 IN SEVEN ADDITIONAL DEATHS. THIS BRINGS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES IN SOUTH CAROLINA TO 15, 759 AND TOTAL DEATHS TO 575. TODAY I AM MORE CONCERNED ABOUT COVID-19 IN SOUTH CAROLINA THAN I HAVE EVER BEFORE. FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS WE HAVE SEEN SOME OF THE HIGHEST AILING SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN. THERE HAVE BEEN RECENT INCREASES IN OUR PERCENT POSITIVE, WHICH TELLS US THAT MORE PEOPLE WE WOULD HOPE FOR THAT ARE BEING TESTED, ARE SICK. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED EVERYONE’S HELP IT REEMPHASIZING HOW CRITICAL IT IS FOR EVERYONE OF US, EVERY DAY, TO WHERE A MASK IN PUBLIC, AND TO STAY PHYSICALLY DISTANT FROM ONE ANOTHER. THOSE PRECAUTIONS, MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING, ARE HOW WE STOP THIS VIRUS. YESTERDAY, DNAC ISSUED A JOINT STATEMENT WITH HOSPITAL OFFICIALS, REITERATING HOW VITALLY IMPORTANT IT IS FOR ALL SOUTH CAROLINA INNS TO ADHERE TO DISEASE PREVENTION GUIDELINES. WE ARE ALL EAGER TO RETURN TO OUR NEW NORMAL, BUT IT WILL TAKE US THAT MUCH LONGER TO GET THERE IF WE DON’T STOP THE VIRUS TODAY. IT DOESN’T TAKE HARD DATA TO OBSERVE THAT MANY PEOPLE ACROSS THE STATE AREN’T SOCIAL DISTANCING AND AREN’T AVOIDING GROUP GATHERINGS AND AREN’T USING MASKS IN PUBLIC. WE REALLY NEED ALL SOUTH CAROLINA INNS TO TAKE THESE PRECAUTIONS EVERY DAY, NOT JUST PROTECT OURSELVES, BUT TO PROTECT OTHERS WHO COULD BECOME SEVERELY ILL OR EVEN DIE IF THEY ARE EXPOSED. INCREASED TESTING DATA HAS ALLOWED US TO BETTER IDENTIFY HOTSPOTS. AND THIS HAS RECENTLY INCLUDED GREENVILLE COUNTY. GREENVILLE COUNTY HAS SEEN SOME OF THE HIGHEST DAILY CASE COUNTS OF ANY COUNTY IN THE STATE FOR OVER A WEEK AND A HALF. WHEN WE IDENTIFY A HOTSPOT LIKE GREENVILLE, WE DIG INTO THE DATA AND USE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION PROVIDED TO US TO HELP IDENTIFY RISK FACTORS THAT COULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE SPREAD IN THESE AREAS. FOR GREENVILLE, WE DETERMINED SEVERAL CASES ARE STEMMING FROM SOME HOUSEHOLDS, MEANING FAMILY MEMBERS ARE INFECTING EACH OTHER, NOT UNEXPECTEDLY, IN THEIR HOMES. THAT IS WEIGHT IS IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW ADVICE OF HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND STATE IN ISOLATION AND QUARANTINE IT ARE DIAGNOSED. AND THIS HELPS PROTECT YOUR FAMILY. BUT WE HAVE DETERMINED APPROXIMATELY 31% OF RECENT CASES IN GREENVILLE HAVE BEEN OCCURRING IN THE LARGE LATINO POPULATION. SO WE IMMEDIATELY TARGETED OUR OUTREACH TO EFFORTS IN THESE COMMUNITIES, AND THIS INCLUDED INTERVIEWS ON LOCAL RADIO STATIONS, LATINO RADIO STATIONS, AND THE REDISTRIBUTION OF OUR SPANISH-TRANSLATED EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES IN THESE AREAS. WE CONTINUE TO INCREASE COVID-19 TESTING AVAILABILITY IN MEADVILLE, AND WITH THE THANKS OF LOCAL HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CARE FROM PROVIDERS AND FACILITIES IN THOSE AREAS, — HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND FACILITIES IN THOSE AREAS, WE CONTINUE WORKING WITH COMMITTEE PARTNERS TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. AT WHILE WE IDENTIFY VIRUS HOTSPOTS AND TAKE EXTRA STEPS TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS IN THESE AREAS, I ASK EVERYONE LISTENING NOW TO ASK YOURSELF HOW YOU CAN POSSIBLY HELP TO STOP THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS, WHAT YOU CAN PERSONALLY DO TO PROTECT YOURSELVES AND PROTECT YOUR COMMUNITIES, SO THAT WE CAN RETURN TO NORMAL ACTIVITIES SOONER, RATHER THAN LATER. THIS WILL HELP US REDUCE THE IMPACT OF THE VIRUS THAT WE ARE ALL EXPERIENCING, IF WE TAKE THESE INDIVIDUAL MEASURES AND ASK OURSELVES IF THERE IS MORE THAT WE CAN DO. YOUR COMMUNITY MIGHT NOT BE A HOTSPOT TODAY, BUT THERE SHOULD BE NO MISTAKE THAT COVID-19 TRANSMISSION IS STILL HIGH AND WIDE SPREAD IN SOUTH CAROLINA AT THIS TIME. PERMIT OF MEASURES WE ARE ENCOURAGING ARE THE ONLY THINGS WE HAVE NOW TO KEEP US SAFE IN THE ABSENCE OF A VACCINE. WE KNOW THAT WHAT WE HAVE BEEN ASKING EVERYONE TO DO IS NOT EASY, BUT I CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH THAT IT IS REALLY ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. I’M WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN TURN THE TIDE ON COVID-19 AND SAVE MORE LIVES IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THANK YOU. GOVERNOR MCMASTER: JUST A NUMBER OF THINGS. FIRST, TO ECHO WHAT DR. BELL SAID, THIS IS A QUESTION OF INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY,, AND IT IS SOMETHING WE ALL HAVE AT OUR DISPOSAL. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, THE SMOKEY BEAR CAMPAIGN WAS RELATIVELY NEW. SMOKEY BEAR WAS A LITTLE BEAR THAT WAS FOUND AFTER A FOREST FIRE, AND HE BECAME THE EMBLEM OF PREVENTING FOREST FIRES, AND HE WAS ALWAYS SAYING, ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES. THAT APPEALED TO CHILDREN. WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO NOW IS APPEAL TO ADULTS, CHILDREN AND EVERYBODY IN BETWEEN. YOU HAVE HEARD EVERYTHING FOR ALMOST THREE MONTHS NOW COMING FROM THIS PLACE AND OTHERS, IS THAT WE ALL HAVE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL SPOTS ABILITY BY NOT BECOMING INFECTED AND NOT INFECTING OTHERS. WHEN WE DO THIS BY WEARING MASKS , SHIELDS, KEEPING SOCIAL DISTANCE, STAYING OUT OF CONFINED PLACES, AVOIDING CROWDS. IT IS JUST A QUESTION OF BEING RESPECTFUL OF YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS. AND THAT IS THE ONLY WAY THAT WE WILL STOP THIS VIRUS SHORT OF A VACCINE. AND A VACCINE IS HERE YET — IS NOT HERE YET. WE DON’T KNOW WHEN IT IS GOING TO BE HERE. BUT IT IS DISAPPOINTING TO GO PLACES AND SEE PEOPLE ALL JAMMED UP IN CROWDS, SOME OF THEM CELEBRATING BEING IN SOUTH CAROLINA, BUT AT THE SAME TIME EXPOSING THEMSELVES AND POTENTIALLY OTHERS TO THESE RISKS. AND THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR THIS LACK OF CARE IS DEATH. IT IS SERIOUS. WE HAVE ALREADY HAD 575 PEOPLE DIE FROM. NOW I AM NOT SAYING THEY WERE THE CAUSE OF THEIR DEMISE, PERHAPS IT WAS SOMEBODY ELSE, BUT YOU DON’T WANT IT BE YOU. SO WITH GOT TO BE CAREFUL. AND AGAIN, EACH OF US HAS IT AT OUR DISPOSAL AND IN OUR POWER TO BE CAREFUL. WHATEVER HAPPENS, WE CAN’T KEEP BUSINESSES CLOSED FOREVER. WE CAN’T ISOLATE SOUTH CAROLINA FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD. WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO IS, WE MUST BE CAREFUL INDIVIDUALLY. WE ARE ASKING ALL OF US, ALL OF US WHO WORK ON THIS EVERY DAY, WE ARE ASKING EVERYONE ELSE TO TAKE THESE REQUESTS AND THIS INFORMATION TO HEART AND TO BE CAREFUL. BECAUSE THIS VIRUS IS WITH US. IT IS NOT GOING TO DISAPPEAR. THE HOT WEATHER IS NOT GOING TO KILL IT. IT MAY BE SEASONAL, BUT IT IS ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH AND IS GOING TO BE HERE UNTIL A VACCINE IS CREATED FOR IT. AND THAT IS NOT HERE YET, SO WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. IN SOUTH CAROLINA, WE HAVE TAKEN SOME STEPS TO SEE THAT SOUTH CAROLINA ACCELERATES BACK INTO THE ECONOMY. THE ECONOMY IN SOUTH CAROLINA WAS WAY UP AT THE TOP IN THE COUNTRY, AND ECONOMIES WERE BOOMING ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, AND WE WERE RIGHT AT THE TOP. WE WANT TO GET THAT AGAIN. THE VIRUS HAS SLOWED US DOWN, BUT WE CAN’T STOP AND WE CAN’T REMAIN SHUTTERED OR RESTRICTED MUCH LONGER. SO I’M ASKING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY — WE HAVE HAD LEADERSHIP WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON A NUMBER OF THINGS — AND I’M PRESENTING AT REPORT TODAY FROM THE COMMITTEE. IT IS A TREMENDOUS REPORT. WE HAD ABOUT 30 PERMANENT MEMBERS AND OTHERS WHO PARTICIPATED, INCLUDING STATE AGENCIES, TO COME UP WITH PLANS TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE AND HEALTHY AND REVITALIZE THE ECONOMY. IN SOUTH CAROLINA, WE DID CLOSE THINGS DOWN LIKE THEY DID IN OTHER PLACES, BUT WE CERTAINLY SLOWED DOWN. AND THIS IS THE TIME, EVEN IN THIS SITUATION WHERE WE ARE STILL FACED WITH A DEADLY VIRUS, THAT WE MUST ACCELERATE OUR ECONOMY. AND DON’T JUST THINK OF BUSINESSES AND BIG BUILDINGS, THINK OF THE FAMILIES, THINK OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DEPENDENT ON THEIR JOBS, THINK OF THE PEOPLE TAKING THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL, OR WILL BE TAKING THEM BACK TO SCHOOL IN AUGUST, JUST LOOK AT THOSE PEOPLE, LOOK AT THE PEOPLE YOU SEE IN THE STORES, THE GROCERY STORES, THE BANK TELLERS, THE PEOPLE WORKING THE STREETS, ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, MANY IN THE TOURISM BUSINESS OR THE SERVICE INDUSTRY, JUST THINK OF THOSE PEOPLE, YOUNG AND OLD. THEY NEED TO WORK. THEY HAVE TO HAVE MONEY IN ORDER TO PURSUE THEIR LIFE’S PLANS, TO FEED THE CHILDREN, TO PAY THE MORTGAGE, TO PAY THE BILLS, KEEP THE ELECTRICITY ON. SO WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK. SO ACCELERATE SC HAS A VARIETY OF RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE LEGISLATURE. PROBABLY THE THREE OF MOST INTEREST AT THIS TIME IS THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE TRUST FUND. THE UNEMPLOYMENT ENSURE — UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE TRUST FUND IS MONEY PAID BY BUSINESSES BASED ON THEIR PAYROLL, SO THAT WHEN EMPLOYEES ARE LAID OFF, THEY WILL HAVE A FUND THAT WILL GO FOR, I THINK IT IS 20 WEEKS. THE MAXIMUM IS $326 A WEEK. DURING THIS VIRUS, FEDERAL AUTHORITIES HAVE ADDED $600 TO THAT, SO IT IS A HEFTY AMOUNT GOING UP THAT’S GOING OUT. OUR TRUST FUND STARTED AT $1.1 BILLION. IN 2008, IT WAS JUST ABOUT DRAINED BECAUSE OF UNEMPLOYMENT BACK THAT. THE STATE BORROWED MONEY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND JUST A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WE ENDED UP PAYING IT BACK AND WERE ABLE TO REDUCE TAXES ON THE BUSINESSES. AND WHEN THE VIRUS STRUCK IN EARLY MARCH, WE HAD $1. BILLION. BY THE TIME WE GET TO DECEMBER, WE WILL BE OVER $600 MILLION SHORT. SO WHAT WE ARE ASKING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO DO IS THAT FROM THAT $1.9 BILLION, TO IMMEDIATELY, WHEN THEY ARRIVE BACK THIS MONTH FOR THE FIRST SESSION, TO PROVIDE AT LEAST $500 MILLION INTO THAT TRUST FUND OF 1.9 BILLION DOLLARS. AT LEAST $500 MILLION. THAT WILL HELP US KEEP THE MOST OPTIMISTIC PREDICTIONS FOR OUR ECONOMY HOLD TRUE, THAT WILL ALMOST BRING US BACK UP TO LEVEL. WE ARE LIKELY TO BE SHORT IF THE DOWNTURN IN THE ECONOMY IS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT, AND THEN THAT $500 MILLION WON’T BE NEARLY ENOUGH. BUT WE ARE HOPING FOR THE BEST. WE ARE HOPING TO GO BACK TO WORK. WE HAVE TO HAVE AT LEAST THAT $500 MILLION TO GO IN IMMEDIATELY, AND ACTUALLY WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MORE THAN THAT, AND WORK FROM THERE. I AM ALSO RECOMMENDING $250 MILLION FROM THE $1.9 BILLION FUND TO REIMBURSE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS WHO PROVIDED ADDITIONAL DAYS OF CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION BEFORE THE SCHEDULED PART OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, OR EXTENDED HOURS DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR, BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR. THIS WILL BRING FIVE DAYS OF EARLY CONSTRUCTION OR EXTENDED HOURS — EARLY INSTRUCTION OR EXPANDED HOURS WHO HAVE MISSED SCHOOL, AND BRING THOSE CHILDREN UP TO FULL SPEED SO THEY WILL BE READY. YOU MISS THINGS OVER THE SUMMER ANYWAY, BUT WITH THIS VIRUS CLOSING DOWN THE SCHOOLS, ALTHOUGH WE HAD A TERRIFIC DISTANT LEARNING PROGRAM GOING ON, A LOT OF STUDENTS STILL NEED HELP. SO WE ARE ASKING FOR $250 MILLION FOR THAT. ALSO, WE ARE ASKING FOR $225 MILLION TO BE DIRECTED FOR LEGITIMATE COVID-19 RELATED EXPENSES INCURRED AFTER MARCH 1 FOR LOCAL AGENCIES, FIRST THAT WILL ALLOW THESE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO RECONCILE THEIR BOOKS BY THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR, AND WE’LL BE OFF TO A GOOD START. SO THOSE ARE OUR PLANS AT THE TIME — WE’VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH THE LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE AS WELL AS THE AGENCIES. I WANT TO THANK, AGAIN, THE MEMBERS OF THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN ACCELERATE S.C. IT’S A UNIQUE OPERATION, A UNIQUE ASSEMBLY OF TALENT TO FIND OUT THE BEST WAY TO REACCELERATE THE ECONOMY IN SOUTH CAROLINA, WHICH ACCELERATES THE HEALTH AND HAPPINESS OF PEOPLE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, AND THAT IS OUR GOAL, NOT ONLY TO GO BACK TO WHERE WE WERE IN OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND STRENGTH, BUT EVEN MORE AS WE MOVE FORWARD. WITH THAT I’D BE GLAD TO ANSWER QUESTIONS. YES? >> OBVIOUSLY YOU WANT PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS. WOULD YOU ENTERTAIN REQUIRING PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS? >> NO, MA’AM. THERE ARE SOME LIMITS TO WHAT WE CAN DO AND WHAT WE CAN ENFORCE. AS YOU’VE HEARD FROM THIS PODIUM MANY TIMES, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS, FACE SHIELDS. IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE IN A FIELD BY YOURSELF, THEN IT’S NOT IMPORTANT. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO THAT THERE. IF YOU’RE IN A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY THE SMALLER THE ROOM, THE MORE THE PEOPLE, IN ELEVATORS, IF ANY OF YOU HAVE GOTTEN IN ELEVATORS, YOU PROBABLY HAVE A SENSATION THAT YOU’RE GLAD YOU HAVE A MASK ON. WE KNOW THAT THE VIRUS, WE’VE LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT IT, THAT IT IS TRANSMITTED BY COUGHING AND SNEEZING, BUT THE EXHILARATION OF AIR. SINGING. THERE WAS ONE EXAMPLE OF A CHOIR. I DON’T REMEMBER HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE IN THE CHOIR, BUT THERE WAS ONE LADY ON THE BACK CORNER OF THE CHOIR WHO TESTED — HAD LATER TESTED POSITIVE. WELL, I THINK JUST ABOUT THE WHOLE CHOIR GOT THE DISEASE LATER TESTED POSITIVE. THE POINT IS WHEN PEOPLE EXHALE VIGOROUSLY, PERHAPS AT SPORTING EVENTS, AS IS REQUIRED, AND OTHER PEOPLE IN AN ENCLOSE PLACE, SAY THEY’RE INHALING AND EXHALING, THAT’S A GREAT RECIPE FOR SPREADING THE VIRUS. THE ANSWER IS, AT THIS POINT, INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY. IT’S NOT MANDATED BY THE GOVERNMENT. I’M DELIGHTED TO SEE THAT THE HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION AND OTHERS ARE JOINING TO ONCE AGAIN REMIND PEOPLE, EARN NEEDS TO REMIND THEIR NEIGHBORS THIS IS A SERIOUS THING. SOME PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY, IT’S NOT REAL FOR THEM UNTIL SOMEBODY THEY KNOWS DIES OF THE VIRUS. BY THAT TIME, IT TOO LATE TO SAVE THAT PERSON. WE’RE IN A SERIOUS SITUATION. IT’S UP TO EVERY INDIVIDUAL TO SEE TO IT THAT THEY DON’T SPREAD THAT VIRUS. YES, MA’AM? >> THE CURRENT STATE OF EMERGENCY IS THAT SET TO END TOMORROW. >> NO. WE WANT TO EXTEND IT AGAIN FOR THE OBVIOUS REASONS. IT CHANGES EVERY COUPLE WEEKS, HAVE A DIFFERENT SITUATION. DR. BILL MENTIONED SOME OF THE COMMUNITIES, CERTAIN COMMUNITIES, SEEM TO HAVE AN ABUNDANCE WAY OUTSIDE THEIR NUMBERS. THERE’S A HIGH PERCENTAGE, ABOUT 87% OF THE PEOPLE IN OUR STATE, WHO HAVE DIED FROM THE VIRUS, ARE OVER 60 OR 65 YEARS OLD. SO WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT THOSE COMMUNITIES, PARTICULARLY THE NURSING HOMES, THE EXTENDED CARE PLACES, AND ALS, PARTICULARLY RURAL COMMUNITIES, WHERE WE NEED TO HAVE AMPLE TESTING AND TRACING. THAT’S WHAT WE YE INTEND TO DO. YES, MA’AM? >> ON THE ISSUE OF MASKS, BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT MANDATING IT STATEWIDE, IN COLUMBIA, THEY OPENED AND AN EMPLOYEE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. FOR SOME OF US WHO HAVE GONE TO RESTAURANTS TO SEE WHAT IT’S LIKE, WE’VE NOTICED EMPLOYEES AT RESTAURANTS NOT WEARING MASKS OR GLOVES. WOULD YOU MAKE IT A REQUIREMENT THAT EMPLOYEES AT BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS WEAR THEM? >> WE DO NOT HAVE POLICE OFFICERS TO GO AROUND THE ENTIRE STATE AND ENFORCE MANDATES. THEY MAY WALK IN, EVERYBODY PUT A MASK ON, WHEN THEY WALK OUT, THEY TAKE THEM OFF. AGAIN, IT IS UP TO THE PEOPLE TO DETERMINE WHAT KIND OF PRECAUTIONS NEED TO BE FOLLOWED. WE ALL KNOW THOSE PRECAUTIONS. WHEN THE VIRUS FIRST ARRIVED, THERE WERE A LOT OF THINGS WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT. WE’VE GOTTEN A LOT OF QUESTIONS ANSWERED. NONE OF THEM ARE REAL GOOD NEWS. ONE IS IT’S HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS. ONE IT IS HIGHLY TRANSMIT COMMITTED. ONE, IT IS DEADLY. WE HAVE TO FIND A VACCINE. THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IS WORKING HARD TO DO THAT. UNTIL THAT DAY COMES, WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. THERE’S NOTHING ELSE WE CAN DO. MANDATES, GOVERNMENT INTRUSION, THERE’S A LIMIT TO HOW MUCH THE GOVERNMENT CAN DO. THERE’S A CONSTITUTIONAL LIMIT. FOR EXAMPLE, ON CLOSURES, CLOSING A BUSINESS IS ESSENTIALLY OF THE TAKING OF THAT PROPERTY FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. IF EXTENDED FOR TOO LONG, THAT BUSINESS CAN’T SURVIVE, AND THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T TAKE THAT PROPERTY. IT’S A CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTION. WHAT WE’VE DONE HAS BEEN CAREFULLY TARGETED, DELIBERATELY IMPOSED ONLY ON THOSE PLACES THAT HAVE THE GREATEST THREAT OF SPREADING THE DISEASE. IN SOUTH CAROLINA WE’VE DONE IT VERY WELL. WE’VE GOT TO COME OUT OF IT. WE CAN’T KEEP MANDATING THINGS ON THE PEOPLE. ONE, BECAUSE THE LAW DOESN’T ALLOW IT. TWO, BECAUSE IT’S UNENFORCEABLE. THREE, BECAUSE THAT’S NOT THE BEST WAY TO DO IT. BEST WAY TO DO IT IS FOR EVERYBODY TO UNDERSTAND IT’S UP TO THEM TO COMPLY WITH THE COURTESIES, THE CONSIDERATION AND RESPECT FOR OTHERS, INCLUDING THEIR OWN HEALTH AND THEIR FAMILIES. >> THE CASES WE’VE SEEN IN THE LAST FEW DAYS, DOES THAT PUSH BACK ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT REOPENING BUSINESSES THAT HAVE YET TO REOPEN? >> NO, MA’AM. WE ALWAYS TAKE THOSE THINGS INTO CONSIDERATION, BUT WE WANT TO OPEN THINGS UP AS SOON AS WE CAN, AS CAREFULLY AS WE CAN, BUT WHAT IT DOES DO IS EMPHASIZE THE NEED FOR PEOPLE PRACTICING SOCIAL DISTANCING. PEOPLE BEING CAREFUL. THAT’S THE ANSWER. IT’S NOT CLOSING BUSINESS. I’VE GOT NO INTENTION OF CLOSING ANY MORE BUSINESSES. NO INTENTION. WHAT WE NEED TO DO ITS PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING. OR ANOTHER WORD FOR IT, BE SMART. THERE’S A LOT OF STUPID FLOATING AROUND OUT THERE, HERE AND THERE, A LOT OF RECKLESS, CARELESS ACTIVITY. WE ASK EVERYBODY TO BE VERY CAREFUL. YES, MA’AM? >> CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE OTHER HOTSPOTS THAT Y’ALL ARE SEEING? >> DOCTOR? >> >> I’D ACTUALLY REFER YOU TO OUR WEBSITE. I DON’T HAVE THE DATA IN FRONT OF ME. SUFFICIENT TO SAY WE ARE MONITORING THAT. FOR EACH HOTSPOT WE CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION TO SEE IF WE CAN IDENTIFY ROOT CAUSES BETWEEN SOCIAL CONTACTS, COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES THAT COULD HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO IT. THERE ARE SEVERAL IN THE STATE. EACH OF THOSE FROM THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL IS BEING INVESTIGATED FOR THEIR CONTACTS, BUT ALSO A COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT OF WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COMMUNITY THAT CAN CONTRIBUTE LARGELY TO A HOTSPOT. IN SOME WE ARE IDENTIFYING THERE’S BEEN PARTICULAR ACTIVITIES, LIKE FESTIVALS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE COULD HAVE ATTENDED, AND WE’RE OBSERVING THE RECOMMENDATIONS. >> WHAT SORT OF GATHERINGS? >> THEY ARE HOUSEHOLD CONTACTS. WHEN WE IDENTIFY CASES, UNEXPECTEDLY THE HIGHEST CONTACT THAT YOU WOULD HAVE IS THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN THE HOUSEHOLD WITH YOU. I WAS EVERYTHING TO CLUSTER OF CASES, NUMBERS OF INDIVIDUALS FROM THE SAME HOUSEHOLD, NOT A SPECIAL EVENT LIKE A WEDDING OR GRADUATION, SOMETHING LIKE THAT. >> DOCK, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND CLOSE ANYTHING DOWN? IN YOUR EXPERTISE, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND CLOSING MORE THINGS DOWN? >> FROM OUR ROLE IN PUBLIC HEALTH IT IS TO PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT PREVENT DISEASE SPREAD. CLOSURES OR REOPENINGS IS NOT OUR ARENA. WHAT WE DO IS INFORM PEOPLE FROM OUR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE DISEASE IS SPREAD, AND WE CONTINUE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS VIRUS. IT IS MORE TRANSMISERABLE THAN WE EXPECTED. IT IS SEVERE, MORE COMPLICATIONS THAT WE UNDERSTOOD EARLIER. OUR ROLE IS TO INFORM ABOUT PREVENTION MEASURES. AT THIS TIME, THE PREVENTION MEASURES THAT WE KNOW ABOUT FOR A RESPIRATORY VIRUS ARE TO CONTAIN RESPIRATORY DROPLETS WITH MASKS AND TO PREVENT BEING CLOSE ENOUGH TO SOMEONE THAT THEY COULD BE CONTAMINATED WITH A RESPIRATORY VIRUS. >> GOVERNOR, TO YOU ON A SIMILAR POINT, YOU’VE SAID MULTIPLE TIMES THAT YOU HAVE NO PLANS — TODAY THAT YOU HAVE NO PLANS TO CLOSE DOWN ANYTHING ELSE. >> YES. >> AND THAT YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SELF-REGULATE. YOU’VE BEEN CALLING FOR THIS FOR A COUPLE MONTHS NOW, AND YET WE’RE STILL SEEING THIS NEW INCREASE. WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE? >> VERY LITTLE. IF CLOSING DOWN WAS THE ANSWER, THEN THE CASES WOULD BE DISAPPEARING IN MINNESOTA, NEW YORK, ALL THOSE PLACES. THEY’VE CLOSED DOWN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. A LOT OF BUSINESSES, INDUSTRIES, ARE STILL CLOSED DOWN. THE CASES ARE WAY MORE PREVALENT THAN THEY ARE IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THAT’S NOT THE ANSWER. WE SLOWED CLOSED CLOSED DOWN SO BUSINESSES. WE SELECTED THOSE THAT WE THOUGHT WERE THE INCUBATORS OF THE VIRUS, PLACES WHERE THERE’S CLOSE CONTACT, BIG CROWDS, THOSE SORTS OF THINGS. AFTER WE’VE DONE THAT, LEARNED ABOUT THE VIRUS, IN THE BEGINNING OF MARCH, WE KNEW NOT MUCH ABOUT THE VIRUS. WE KNOW WHO’S MOST VULNERABLE TO IT. TO KEEP AN ECONOMY LOCKED DOWN, AS THEY ARE STILL DOING IN SOME OTHER STATES, IS CERTAINLY NOT THE ANSWER. THE THING TO DO, WE HAVE TO LET PEOPLE WORK. PEOPLE HAVE TO GO WORK TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR CHILDREN, TO PAY THEIR BILLS, TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, TO SAVE FOR COLLEGE AND ALL THOSE THOUSANDS OF THINGS. YOU SIMPLY CANNOT STOP THAT INDEFINITELY. WE SLOWED IT DOWN IN SOUTH CAROLINA ENOUGH TO ARM OURSELVES WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO BE SAFE. NOW WHAT I’M SAYING IS, AS WE HAVE SAID FROM THE BEGINNING, IS WE NOW NEED TO PRACTICE WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED. WHEN WE SHUT DOWN BUSINESSES, TOOK THOSE MEASURES, WOULDN’T IT WORK AGAIN? >> THE MORE WE TEST, WHETHER PLACES WERE CLOSED, OPEN, THE MORE YOU TEST, THE MORE YOU FIND POSITIVE CASES. THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE. WE DIDN’T HAVE THE FACILITY TO DO TESTING, AND WE WERE LIMITING IT ONLY TO THOSE SHOWING CERTAIN SIGNS OF THE VIRUS. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. NOW EVERYBODY’S GETTING TESTED. BUT AGAIN, IF CLOSING ALL THE BUSINESSES WERE THE ANSWER, THEN THE PLACES THAT HAVE DONE THAT WOULD BE DOING GREAT, BUT THEY’RE NOT. THAT’S NOT THE ANSWER. YOU CANNOT CLOSE — WHEN YOU’RE CLOSING A BUSINESS, WHAT YOU’RE DOING, IS TAKING SOMEONE’S LIVELIHOOD FROM THEM. WHAT THEY’VE LEARNED, WHAT THEY’VE STUDIED FOR, WHAT THEY LIKE TO DO. PEOPLE LIKE TO GO TO WORK. THEY WANT TO GO TO WORK, MOVE UP. WHEN THE GOVERNMENT CLOSES DOWN A BUSINESS, YOU’RE TAKING THAT AWAY FROM THOSE PEOPLE. YES, MA’AM? >> >> IS THERE A CORRELATION BETWEEN THE HIGH NUMBERS OF CASES WE’RE SEEING AND MEMORIAL DAY TOURISM/TRAVEL? JULY 4TH IS COMING UP, AND THAT’S A TOURIST BEING OUTSIDE KIND DAY. IS THERE A CONCERN ABOUT THE NUMBERS SPIKING AFTER JULY 4TH? >> AS WELL. I THINK THE DATA REFLECTS THAT. WE BEGAN TO SEE THE FIRST INCREASING TRENDS SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, WHICH WOULD EXPLAIN — YOU KNOW, YOU GO THROUGH AN INCUBATION PERIOD, AND WITHIN SEVERAL DAYS PEOPLE MAY EXPERIENCE ILLNESSES, AND FOR THE TIME IT TAKES TEST RESULTS TO COME BACK. THAT WOULD PARTLY EXPLAIN THAT. IT’S NOT UNEXPECTED. WE SAW LOTS OF ACTIVITY WITH LARGE GATHERINGS, YOU KNOW, SOCIAL DISTANCING, VERY RARE USE OF MASKS. THESE FINDINGS ARE NOT UNEXPECTED. >> WHAT ABOUT THE PROTESTS? >> WE’RE SEEING A SLIGHTLY ONGOING UPWARD TREND. THERE’S NOT ONLY THE PROTESTS, BUT BEHAVIORS IN LOTS OF COMMUNITIES, WHERE PEOPLE DO NOT APPEAR TO BE PAYING ATTENTION, IN ALL SORTS OF GATHERINGS, PAYING ATTENTION TO SOCIAL DISTANCING. IT’S NOT JUST A MASK OR SIX FEET, IT SHOULD BE A MASK AND SIX FEET. WE ASK PEOPLE TO KEEP THAT IN MIND. THERE ARE MANY WAYS THAT PEOPLE CAN PARTICIPATE IN GATHERINGS MORE SAFELY THAN IT IS HAPPENING NOW, BUT IT SHOULD BE BOTH THE MASK AND KEEPING A DISTANCE FROM OTHER TEAMMATE. >> WHY IS THERE A DECLINE OF TEST NUMBERS, AND DO YOU HAVE AN IDEAL? >> WE’RE CONTINUING TO WORK TOWARD THE GOAL OF TESTING 2% OF OUR POPULATION EVERY MONTH. WE EXCEEDED THE GOAL AHEAD OF TIME. THAT’S THE GOAL TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT EVERY MONTH. WE SEE SOME SPORADIC CHANGES WITH THE AVAILABILITY OF TESTING REAGENTS FOR CERTAIN PLANNED TESTING SITES. THAT HASN’T BEEN A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM RECENTLY AS IT WAS IN THE PAST. WE DO HAVE SUFFICIENT CAPACITY, PARTICULARLY ON OUR PUBLIC HEALTH LAB, TO PROVIDE TESTING >> ARE YOU NOT SEEING PEOPLE PRACTICE GUIDELINES, AND TO REVISE — >> WHICH GUIDELINES? >> WHAT YOU’RE EXPECTING GOING FORWARD. >> REVISED OUR — >> YOUR PREDICTIONS. >> REVISED OUR PREDICTIONS? >> SO WE BASE OUR PREDICTIONS ON TRENDS WE’RE CURRENTLY SEEING. IF THE TRENDS CHANGE, THEN OUR PREDICTIONS OF WHAT WE MIGHT SEE IN THE FUTURE, IN TERMS OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, DEATHS, ILLNESS IN THE COMMUNITY, ARE ADJUSTED ACCORDINGLY. >> WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY BEING ON RESTAURANTS AND INDIVIDUALS, DOES THE STATE HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLY OF P.P.E. RIGHT NOW FOR THESE SMALL BUSINESSES IN ORDER TO HAVE — >> YES. >> IS THERE A NUMBER THAT WE’RE TRYING TO GET TO? >> IT’S A HUGE NUMBER. WE WERE LOOKING AT SOME OF THOSE NUMBERS THIS MORNING. I THINK THE NUMBER OF GLOVES THAT HAVE COME IN TO THE STATE, I THINK IT’S SOMETHING LIKE 120 MILLION. SOME FANTASTIC NUMBER. WE CAN GET THOSE NUMBERS FOR YOU. AT THE BEGINNING, THE DEMAND WAS SO GREAT, THAT IT WAS DIFFICULT TO GET A LOT OF THOSE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. WE HAVE A MACHINE THAT PROCESS MASKS, CLEAN THEM UP, AND THEY’RE AS GOOD AS NEW. IT’S AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. MANUFACTURERS HAVE STEPPED IN. SOME HAVE CHANGED RIGHT HERE IN COLUMBIA HAVE CHANGED OVER FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER. IT’S A SHAME PEOPLE AREN’T UTILIZING IT. BEFORE IT WAS HARD TO GET MASKS, BUT NOW IT’S NOT. >> WHAT ABOUT GETTING IN CONTACT TO GET THOSE SUPPLIES? >> THEY CAN CALL THE CO COUNTY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIVISION. WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADDRESS THOSE NUMBERS? DID I GET IT RIGHT? >> PRETTY CLOSE. YES, SIR. THEY’RE HARD TO REMEMBER. IN THE LAST — SINCE REALLY THE FIRST OF MARCH OF THIS YEAR, TO I GUESS THE 5TH OF JUNE, TO THE GOVERNMENT’S POINT IN DIRECTLY COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTION, TO POINTS HERE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, FOR GLOVES, IT WAS 188 MILLION GLOVES. SOME OF THE OTHER NUMBERS, 562,000 FOR N95 MASKS. OVER 5 MILLION SURGICAL MASKS. THEN OVER 2 MILLION GOWNS. THAT’S THE DIRECT COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTION. THROUGH OUR SYSTEM, AS THE GOVERNOR SAID, THROUGH EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, WORKING WITH THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES, WE’VE SOURCED OVER 1.4 MILLION MASKS, OVER A MILLION N95 MASKS, OVER A MILLION SURGICAL MASKS, OVER 4 MILLION GLOVES, OVER HALF A MILLION GOWNS. THE SUPPLY CHAIN HAS VASTLY IMPROVED FROM WE STARTED. WE STARTED WITH ZERO P.P.E. ORIGINALLY IN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND WE’VE GONE A LONG WAYS IN THE LAST TWO MONTHS. KEY IS THE SUPPLY CHAIN, MEDICAL DISTRIBUTION, IS ALL WORKING. WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW IS TO CREATE SOME SORT OF STOCKPILE FOR FUTURE EVENTS. WE’VE ORDERED QUITE A BIT OF THAT. FOR 30 DAYS, OR 28 DAYS ACTUALLY, FOUR WEEKS, OVER 400,000 N95 MASKS, AND OVER 1.8 MILLION SURGICAL MASKS. WE FEEL THAT’S JUST EXAMPLES OF NUMBERS THAT WILL HOLD US FOR AT LEAST 28 DAYS OR FOUR WEEKS. AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, THEY’RE GOING TO REPLENISH THE STRATEGIC NATIONAL STOCKPILE. TODAY THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT ON THE N95 MASKS, AS MANY AS 300 MILLION IN THE NATIONAL STOCKPILE. IT’S ALSO BEING DONE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL AS WELL. MANY HOSPITALS ARE LOOKING INTO ESTABLISHING THEIR OWN STOCKPILES. WE’RE WORKING HARD COLLECTIVELY TO MAKE SURE WE DON’T RUN INTO THE SAME PROBLEM WE DID A COUPLE MONTHS AGO >> WE’VE SEEN THE PERCENT POSITIVE OVER 10% THE LAST FEW DAYS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY THAT IS? ALSO WHILE THE NUMBER OF CAUSES HAS RISEN, THE NUMBER OF DEATHS HAS STAYED KIND OF ABOUT THE SAME. WE HAVEN’T SEEN A HUGE SPIKE THERE. CAN YOU ALSO EXPLAIN WHY YOU THINK THAT I >> WHEN TESTING GOES UP, THAT’S AN INDICATOR WE’RE DETECTING MORE SICK PEOPLE IN THE POPULATION. IT’S ONE INDICATOR OF ADEQUACY OF TESTING IN A POPULATION. IF YOU SEE A LOW PERCENT POSITIVE, WHICH WE HAD SEEN FOR A WHILE, THAT GAVE US PRETTY GOOD CONFIDENCE, THAT WE WERE ADEQUATELY SAMPLING AND CATCHING A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT WEREN’T SICK. WHEN THE PERCENT POSITIVE GOES UP OF THE TOTAL NUMBER TESTED, THAT TELLS YOU WE’RE LOOKING AT MORE PEOPLE IN THE POPULATION WHO ARE SICK, AND ALSO PERHAPS WE NEED TO EXPAND TESTING SO THAT WE GET THAT NUMBER TO GO DOWN AS AN INDICATOR OF ADEQUACY OF TESTING. AS FAR AS THE NUMBER OF CASES GOING UP, HOSPITALIZATIONS STAYING RELATIVELY STABLE, THEN IT DOES TELL US THAT THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY WHO ARE BEING TESTED WHO HAVE MILDER ILLNESS. SO IN THE PAST, PEOPLE MAY NOT HAVE SOUGHT MEDICAL CARE, HAD MILDER SYMPTOMS, DIDN’T SEEK CARE. I THINK THERE’S ALSO MORE AWARENESS OF THE FACT THAT THERE CAN BE MORE ASYMPTOMATIC POSITIVES, SOME PEOPLE SEEKING TESTING THAT HAVE NO SYMPTOMS AS WELL. THAT’S A PARTIAL EXPLANATION OF WHY WE SEE CASES GO UP AND NOT NECESSARILY HOSPITALIZATIONS. >> SPEAKING OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, THEY SENT OUT CONFUSING MESSAGING EARLIER THIS WEEK REGARDING ASYMPTOMATIC CASES, WHETHER THEY TRANSMIT THE DISEASE. >> THERE’S EVIDENCE THAT TRANSMISSION OCCURS FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE ASYMPTOMATIC. FOR THIS REASON WE EXTENDED THE TIME PERIOD THAT WE CONSIDER CONTACT. WE INITIALLY SAID YOU’RE A CONTACT IF YOU’VE HAD CLOSE FACE-TO-FACE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE FROM THE TIME OF ONSET OF SYMPTOMS, WHILE THEY WERE SYMPTOMATIC. NOW WE CONSIDER A CONTACT SOMEONE WHO’S HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE IN THE TWO DAYS PRIOR TO THE ONSET OF SYMPTOMS. WE RECOGNIZE SOME PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE SYMPTOMS CAN SPREAD THE VIRUS. >> WHAT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF DEATHS? WHY HAVEN’T WE SEEN A HUGE SPIKE IN DEATHS? I MEAN, THEY’VE STAYED PRETTY MUCH ABOUT THE SAME THE LAST FEW DAYS. >> WHEN WE LOOK AT DATA FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT, IT MAKES FOR A LOT OF REASONS FOR VARIABILITY. IT’S BETTER TO FOLLOW A TREND, WHAT WE’RE ACCUMULATING OVER TIME TO BETTER EXPLAIN. IT TAKES TIME TO CAPTURE CASES FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT, IT’S DIFFICULT TO COMMENT ON WHAT WE’RE SEEING. WE NEED TO FOLLOW THE TRENDS. >> IS THERE A MAGIC NUMBER THAT COULD BE REACHED WHERE YOU RECOMMEND A SHUTDOWN, OR PARTIAL SHUTDOWN, OR, GOVERNOR, YOU WOULD SAY, WE NEED TO STEP THINGS BACK. IS THERE A NUMBER OF CASES WE COULD SEE THAT WOULD CAUSE YOU TO BACKTRACK A LITTLE BIT TO MAKE SURE EVERYBODY IS SAFE? >> I’LL SAY AGAIN IF SHUTTING DOWN WERE THE ANSWER, THEN THESE OTHER STATES THAT HAVE SHUT DOWN, HAVE BEEN SHUT DOWN, WOULD BE SHOWING ZERO SPREAD. SHUT DOWN IS NOT THE ANSWER. WHEN WE SHUT DOWN, WE’RE SHUTTING DOWN PEOPLE’S LIVELIHOODS. UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION YOU CANNOT DO THAT FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. THAT’S TAKING THEIR PROPERTY FROM THE IN A RESTAURANT, YOU HAVE THE COOKS, CASHIERS, WAITERS AND WAITRESSES, THE OWNERS OF THE BUSINESS, CUSTOMERS COMING IN THE BUSINESS AS WELL. WHEN YOU TAKE SOMEONE’S LIVELIHOOD FROM THEM, YOU’VE TAKEN A VERY BIG THING FROM THEM. SHUTTING DOWN IS NOT THE ANSWER. I THINK WE’RE DOING IT THE RIGHT WAY NOW. I CAN REFER YOU TO SOME NUMBERS THAT THIS IS POSITIVE CASE PER 100,000 PER STATE. HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE TESTED POSITIVE OUT OF 100,000 PER STATE. THESE ARE VERY INTERESTING NUMBERS. IN SOUTH CAROLINA, I’LL LEAVE OFF THE DECIMAL. 293 PER 100,000. NORTH CAROLINA IS 350. GEORGIA IS 496. NORTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA ARE BOTH BIGGER THAN WE ARE, BUT THAT DON’T COUNT IN THIS. THIS IS PER 100,000 PEOPLE. AGAIN, WE’RE AT 293. NORTH CAROLINA IS 350. GEORGIA IS 496. ALABAMA IS 436. MISSISSIPPI IS 5. TENNESSEE IS 399. VIRGINIA IS 599. FLORIDA IS 300. AGAIN, SOUTH CAROLINA IS 293. IN OUR ESTIMATION, THAT’S WAY TOO HIGH. WEAPWE WANT IT TO BICOLOR THAN T THIS SHOWS WE’VE MADE SMART DECISIONS THAT ARE WORKING. MONTANA, NORTH DAKOTA, AND ALASKA, THEY’RE LOWER THAN THIS. YOU GO TO ILLINOIS, MICHIGAN, NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, CONNECTICUT, THOSE PLACES, THEY’RE SKY-HIGH. SKY-HIGH, JUST BEEN LOCKED DOWN COMPLETELY. YES, MA’AM? >> I WANT TO BRING UP ELECTIONS, ALSO AFFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS. A LOT OF ISSUES HERE. ANY PLANS MOVING FORWARD WITH ELECTIONS, WITH THE ELECTION COMMITTEE? >> THE DELEGATION WANTS TO BE SURE THAT’S FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. THE STATE ELECTION COMMISSION, BASED ON EVENTS, SOME PLACES WITH BIG CROWDS. THEY ARE GOING TO SEE THAT IN THE RUNOFFS, AND THERE ARE SOME OF THOSE THAT WE DO HAVE PLENTY OF PEOPLE. MY UNDERSTANDING FROM THE CONVERSATIONS A THAT EVERYONE THOUGHT POLLING PLACES WERE ADEQUATE. SOME WERE COMBINED, AS YOU KNOW. THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE ADEQUATELY STAFFED. TURNED OUT THEY WERE NOT. THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS WE’VE LEARNED. WE ALSO KNOW THAT ALL OF THOSE VOTES WILL BE COUNTED. AS FAR AS WE KNOW, WE’VE HAD A RELIABLE ELECTION DAY. >> WOULD YOU RECOMMEND, GIVING THE SHEER NUMBER OF PEOPLE WE SAW TURN OUT YESTERDAY — >> NO, MA’AM, NOT AT THIS TIME. NO, MA’AM. >> ON THE QUESTION OF EXPANDING BUSINESSES — >> EXPANDING WHAT? >> REOPENING BUSINESSES. YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE’S NO REASON THAT SHUTTING DOWN ISN’T THE ANSWER, HOWEVER SOME BUSINESSES IN SOUTH CAROLINA ARE STILL SHUT DOWN, BOWLING ALLEYS, JUST TO NAME ONE. ARE YOU CONSIDERING OPENING THESE BOWLING ALLEYS? >> YES, WE ARE. WE TOOK A DELIBERATE TARGETED APPROACH IN THOSE THAT WE RESTRICTED, LIMITED, OR SHUT DOWN, AND GOING OUT THE SAME WAY THAT WE WENT IN. THOSE THAT YOU MENTIONED INVOLVE CONCERTS AND THEATERS, ALSO BOWLING ALLEYS. WE HAVE THE INFORMATION TO MAKE SOME GOOD DECISIONS VERY SOON. >> YOU FIRED THE ENTIRE BOARD. OBVIOUSLY WE HAD LOTS OF PROBLEMS LAST NIGHT OWE OR YESTERDAY. WOULD YOU CONSIDER AGAIN TAKING DRASTIC STEP TO — >> I’LL DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO BE SURE WHEN THE PEOPLE GO TO THE POLLS, THEY KNOW THAT NOT GOING TO HAVE AN UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE, THEIR VOTES WILL BE COUNTED. THE TIME YOU REFERRED TO BEFORE WAS NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. THIS IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. THEY’RE DIFFERENT APPROACHES, PERHAPS DIFFERENT RECOMMENDATIONS OF THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE. I’M CONFIDENT THAT THE STATE ELECTION COMMISSION IS GATHERING INFORMATION TO SEE WHAT WE NEED TO DO. THEY’VE ALREADY DETERMINED THERE WILL BE MORE PEOPLE AVAILABLE FOR THESE RUNOFFS, SO WE DON’T HAVE THE BOTTLENECKS WE HAD YESTERDAY. Y’ALL, THANK YOU FOR C
Gov. McMaster extends state of emergency as South Carolina coronavirus cases continue to spike
Health official more concerned about COVID-19 in state ‘than ever before’
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Wednesday he would extend the state of emergency that was set to expire on Thursday as part of the state’s coronavirus response.Watch the news conference above. The decision was based on a recent spike in cases across the state, and especially in Greenville County, officials said. State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said she is more concerned about COVID-19 in the state than ever before.DHEC announced 528 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths.This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 15,759 and those who have died to 575.Five of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Chesterfield (1), Florence (1), Greenville (2), and Spartanburg (1) counties, and two middle-aged individuals from Greenville (1) and Newberry (1) counties.The number of new cases by county are listed below.Aiken (2), Anderson (1), Barnwell (1), Beaufort (19), Berkeley (11), Charleston (37), Cherokee (2), Chesterfield (7), Clarendon (2), Colleton (9), Darlington (3), Dillon (1), Dorchester (7), Fairfield (3), Florence (3), Georgetown (8), Greenville (145), Greenwood (1), Horry (79), Kershaw (6), Lancaster (6), Laurens (4), Lee (2), Lexington (27), Marlboro (4), Newberry (1), Oconee (4), Orangeburg (4), Pickens (14), Richland (66), Spartanburg (11), Sumter (15), Williamsburg (1), York (22)With 145 news cases in Greenville County alone, Bell confirmed that the county is a hot spot for the coronavirus.DHEC has identified several cases stemming from households where a single individual infects others in the home.She emphasized that it is critical for everyone to wear a mask when out in public and to stay socially distanced.Bell also said 31% of recent cases in Greenville are happening in large Latino communities.As a result, DHEC is working with community partners to target information and resources to those areas, Bell said. The agency is also increasing local testing in Greenville. McMaster said that the state is faced with a deadly virus, but business cannot be closed forever.He said it is up to individuals to do their part to take these measures to help slow the spread. He said he will not close any more businesses, saying that individuals must exercise responsibility by wearing masks and distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. McMaster said he will not mandate that people wear masks because “it is a matter of individual responsibility.”McMaster also released his recommendations to the South Carolina General Assembly for how the state’s share of federal coronavirus aid from CARES Act funds should be invested. The governor’s proposal comes after AccelerateSC worked for over a month to determine, in part, how to best invest these funds. To view the governor’s letter to the General Assembly, along with his full proposal, click here.”No reason to close businesses, again”WYFF News 4’s Amanda Crawford reached out the governor’s office after the recent spike in cases statewide. “The governor has no intention of reinstating restrictions on businesses,” Communications Director Brian Symmes said. “Every time he’s made a decision to lift restrictions, it was accompanied by guidelines for businesses to follow that will help protect South Carolinians. With those recommended guidelines still in place, there’s no reason to close businesses again.”WYFF News 4 Investigates is tracking cases reported, deaths, hospitalizations and testing across South Carolina.On May 10, the seven-day moving average of daily cases reported in the state was 146. The figure more than doubled by June 3, and a week later hit its highest level ever – 408.3 The 2,222 cases reported in Greenville County is the highest rate for any county in the state, though 14 other counties have a higher case rate when compared to population.The other nine Upstate counties have a total of 1,857 cases reported combined.The seven-day moving average of people who have died sits at 9.6 deaths reported per day. The average was nine per day on May 9. It dipped to 5.6 on May 22.On average, more than 482 have been hospitalized over the last week, compared to 408 in the week leading up to June 2. The average has increased each day since. It was at 341 on May 5.Testing in South CarolinaAs of Tuesday, a total of 261,377 tests have been conducted in the state (by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs). DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.Percent Positive Test Trends among Reported COVID-19 CasesThe total number of individuals tested yesterday statewide was 4,078 and the percent positive was 12.9%. When the percent positive is low, it may indicate that more widespread testing is being performed and the percent positive may more accurately reflect how much disease is present in the community.90 Mobile Testing Clinics Scheduled StatewideAs part of DHEC’s ongoing efforts to increase testing in underserved and rural communities across the state, the agency is working with community partners to set up mobile testing clinics that bring testing to these communities. Currently, there are 90 mobile testing events scheduled through July 2 with new testing events added regularly. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at scdhec.gov/covid19mobileclinics.Residents can also get tested at one of 173 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state. Visit scdhec.gov/covid19testingfor more information.Hospital Bed OccupancyAs of Wednesday morning, 2,809 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,608 are in use, which is a 73.03% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,608 inpatient beds currently used, 513 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.How South Carolinians Can Stop the SpreadEvidence is increasing about the high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious. This places everyone at risk of getting the virus or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else. Steps people can take to protect themselves and others include:Practicing social distancing Wearing a mask in public Avoiding group gatherings Regularly washing your hands Staying home if sickFor the latest information related to COVID-19 visit scdhec.gov/COVID-19.Visit scdmh.net for stress, anxiety and mental health resources from the S.C. Department of Mental Health.*As new information is provided to the department, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 map will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.Additional coronavirus resources:Tracking COVID-19 curve of cases, deaths in the Carolinas, GeorgiaLatest update on coronavirus cases, latest headlines in Carolinas, GeorgiaCOVID-19 maps of Carolinas, Georgia: Latest coronavirus cases by countySign up for WYFF News 4 coronavirus daily newsletter
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Wednesday he would extend the state of emergency that was set to expire on Thursday as part of the state’s coronavirus response.
Watch the news conference above.
The decision was based on a recent spike in cases across the state, and especially in Greenville County, officials said.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said she is more concerned about COVID-19 in the state than ever before.
DHEC announced 528 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths.
This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 15,759 and those who have died to 575.
Five of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Chesterfield (1), Florence (1), Greenville (2), and Spartanburg (1) counties, and two middle-aged individuals from Greenville (1) and Newberry (1) counties.
The number of new cases by county are listed below.
Aiken (2), Anderson (1), Barnwell (1), Beaufort (19), Berkeley (11), Charleston (37), Cherokee (2), Chesterfield (7), Clarendon (2), Colleton (9), Darlington (3), Dillon (1), Dorchester (7), Fairfield (3), Florence (3), Georgetown (8), Greenville (145), Greenwood (1), Horry (79), Kershaw (6), Lancaster (6), Laurens (4), Lee (2), Lexington (27), Marlboro (4), Newberry (1), Oconee (4), Orangeburg (4), Pickens (14), Richland (66), Spartanburg (11), Sumter (15), Williamsburg (1), York (22)
With 145 news cases in Greenville County alone, Bell confirmed that the county is a hot spot for the coronavirus.
DHEC has identified several cases stemming from households where a single individual infects others in the home.
She emphasized that it is critical for everyone to wear a mask when out in public and to stay socially distanced.
Bell also said 31% of recent cases in Greenville are happening in large Latino communities.
As a result, DHEC is working with community partners to target information and resources to those areas, Bell said.
The agency is also increasing local testing in Greenville.
McMaster said that the state is faced with a deadly virus, but business cannot be closed forever.
He said it is up to individuals to do their part to take these measures to help slow the spread.
He said he will not close any more businesses, saying that individuals must exercise responsibility by wearing masks and distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
McMaster said he will not mandate that people wear masks because “it is a matter of individual responsibility.”
McMaster also released his recommendations to the South Carolina General Assembly for how the state’s share of federal coronavirus aid from CARES Act funds should be invested.
The governor’s proposal comes after AccelerateSC worked for over a month to determine, in part, how to best invest these funds.
“No reason to close businesses, again”
WYFF News 4’s Amanda Crawford reached out the governor’s office after the recent spike in cases statewide.
“The governor has no intention of reinstating restrictions on businesses,” Communications Director Brian Symmes said. “Every time he’s made a decision to lift restrictions, it was accompanied by guidelines for businesses to follow that will help protect South Carolinians. With those recommended guidelines still in place, there’s no reason to close businesses again.”
WYFF News 4 Investigates is tracking cases reported, deaths, hospitalizations and testing across South Carolina.
On May 10, the seven-day moving average of daily cases reported in the state was 146. The figure more than doubled by June 3, and a week later hit its highest level ever – 408.3
The 2,222 cases reported in Greenville County is the highest rate for any county in the state, though 14 other counties have a higher case rate when compared to population.
The other nine Upstate counties have a total of 1,857 cases reported combined.
The seven-day moving average of people who have died sits at 9.6 deaths reported per day. The average was nine per day on May 9. It dipped to 5.6 on May 22.
On average, more than 482 have been hospitalized over the last week, compared to 408 in the week leading up to June 2. The average has increased each day since. It was at 341 on May 5.
Testing in South Carolina
As of Tuesday, a total of 261,377 tests have been conducted in the state (by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs). DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.
Percent Positive Test Trends among Reported COVID-19 Cases
The total number of individuals tested yesterday statewide was 4,078 and the percent positive was 12.9%. When the percent positive is low, it may indicate that more widespread testing is being performed and the percent positive may more accurately reflect how much disease is present in the community.
90 Mobile Testing Clinics Scheduled Statewide
As part of DHEC’s ongoing efforts to increase testing in underserved and rural communities across the state, the agency is working with community partners to set up mobile testing clinics that bring testing to these communities. Currently, there are 90 mobile testing events scheduled through July 2 with new testing events added regularly. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at scdhec.gov/covid19mobileclinics.
Residents can also get tested at one of 173 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state. Visit scdhec.gov/covid19testingfor more information.
Hospital Bed Occupancy
As of Wednesday morning, 2,809 inpatient hospital beds are available and 7,608 are in use, which is a 73.03% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,608 inpatient beds currently used, 513 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.
How South Carolinians Can Stop the Spread
Evidence is increasing about the high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious. This places everyone at risk of getting the virus or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else. Steps people can take to protect themselves and others include:
- Practicing social distancing
- Wearing a mask in public
- Avoiding group gatherings
- Regularly washing your hands
- Staying home if sick
*As new information is provided to the department, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 map will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.
Additional coronavirus resources: