Record-high 24 deaths in South Carolina due to COVID-19, DHEC reports

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – Twenty-four people in South Carolina have died in the past 24 hours due to the coronavirus, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell.

That’s the highest number in a single day for the state, Bell stressed. The state also has a record number of hospitalizations. “This is a public health crisis,” Dr. Bell said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

Gov. McMaster said the upcoming weekend presents a “dangerous opportunity to spread this virus,” as he warned he will not remove restrictions on events such as sports, performances, high school and college football until the numbers stop going up. 

“If these numbers continue to rise, if we continue to see this kind of danger going across our state, I will have no choice – we will have no choice but to keep these restrictions on crowds and gatherings in place,” said McMaster. “That means this fall will not be like other falls, we will not be able to have college football, we won’t be able to have high school football.”

Gov. McMaster, when asked if the state would close beaches for the July 4th holiday, said it is up to local authorities to consider those measures.

DHEC also reported 1,497 news cases of COVID-19 in one day. “We must get these escalating numbers under control,” said Bell, who also said we could see cases rise to a level no one expected.

For each case that’s infected, that person can infect two more people, Dr. Bell said about the infection rate. The state is seeing more than a thousand cases a day. 

Regarding a mandate to wear masks, the governor on Wednesday again said it would be impossible to enforce such a statewide mandate. 

On Friday, McMaster declared a new state of emergency and said no more restrictions will be lifted until cases decrease.

 McMaster said mandating masks is “impractical,” but strongly encouraged masks be worn in public.  He is not considering closing beaches again ahead of the 4th of July weekend, but DHEC recommends anyone who has gone to the beach to get tested, as they’ve “likely come in contact” with someone who is positive but asymptomatic. 

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