More than 10,000 coronavirus cases have been screened for residential care institutions in South Carolina, a load of cases that compares to the growth of cases in nursing homes across the country.
Long-term care residents account for 8 percent of confirmed cases, according to a study released by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living on Monday.
“As we feared, the sheer volume of growing cases in communities in the United States, combined with the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus, has unfortunately led to an increase in new cases of COVID in nursing homes,” said Mark, president of AHCA / NCAL Parkinson. “It is incredibly frustrating as we have made tremendous progress to reduce COVID rates in nursing homes after the peak this summer in the states of the Sun Belt.”
In Palmetto state, the Department of Health and Environmental Control said Tuesday that 10,626 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in residential facilities between employees and residents since April. Almost 1,500 of them died.
New cases reported: 741, which is 369 percent higher than the 158 registered on March 31, the day Governor Henry McMaster ordered the closing of non-essential deals.
Total cases in SC: 170,862, plus 9,090 probable cases
New reported deaths: 18
Total deaths in SC: 3,713 confirmed, 255 likely
Total tests in SC: 2,053,653
Hospitalized patients: 737
Percentage of positive tests, average of seven days: 13.6 percent. Five percent or less of the tests with positive results is a good sign that the spread of the virus is slowing, say the researchers.
Most affected areas
South Carolina’s top counties for new coronavirus cases on Tuesday were Greenville, 85; York, 73; and Anderson and Richland, who registered 61 each.
What about the tri-county?
Charleston County had 32 new cases, while Berkeley had 17 and Dorchester had 11.
Three more adult residents of Charleston County, two of them elderly and one under 35, were included in the DHEC record of new deaths. Authorities are also investigating the death of a Dorchester resident and believe the patient had COVID-19.
Of the 18 new deaths, 12 patients were at least 65 years old and four were middle-aged patients between 35 and 64 years old, DHEC said on Tuesday. Another two were young adults aged 18 to 34.
They lived in Abbeville, Charleston, Cherokee, Florence, Greenville, Horry, Kershaw, Richland, Spartanburg and Union counties.
On Tuesday, DHEC reported that 737 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 202 in intensive care and 104 in ventilators.
How many cases were found in long-term care facilities?
There were 10,626 confirmed cases of coronavirus in nursing homes and assisted living facilities: 6,958 residents and 3,668 employees, according to DHEC data.
So far, 1,471 residents have died from the virus, a 21 percent death rate. Twenty-three workers also died. Together, they account for 40 percent of deaths in the state, show the data released on Tuesday.
Of the 687 DHEC monitors at the facility, the virus was found in 405. There are active outbreaks in 117 of them.
Some type of visitation – internal, external or both – is allowed in 429 installations; 206 do not allow; 52 did not report.
What do the experts say?
The authorities continue to urge Southern Carolinians to take precautions such as wearing masks or other facial coverings, social detachment and frequent hand washing.
They also recommend that anyone who believes they have been exposed to the virus or who are developing symptoms get tested. Those who live in the community or cannot socially distance themselves should be tested monthly, DHEC advised.
There are 91 mobile test events scheduled through December 23 and 352 permanent test facilities. Visit scdhec.gov/covid19testing to find a test site in your area.
Talk to Sara Coello at 843-937-5705 and follow her on Twitter @smlcoello.