WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - “Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t hoard supplies,” Gov. Henry McMaster said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
The governor said his office has received numerous reports of stores running out of routine items.
Several viewers also told us that they’ve been to stores where the shelves have been emptied of items including toilet paper, paper towels, fresh produce and meat.
“We’ve got plenty of plenty of retailers as well as wholesalers who are going to see that we don't run out of these common everyday items that we need for our lives,” McMaster said.
The governor also urged people if they don’t need to be in a public space, then stay home.
And if you do go out, he said to show some common courtesy.
“Everything that can be done is being activated and implemented as precisely and is quickly is necessary, and we are staying ahead of it,” McMaster said."But we need the cooperation of every single citizen.”
During the Thursday afternoon update, state health officials announced that they were investigating 21 new cases of coronavirus in the state which included one case in Charleston County, one in Dorchester County and one in Beaufort County.
Dr. Linda Bell with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said her department has received 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
DHEC has so far performed 906 tests, 833 of which have been found negative.
State health officials also talked about the resources on hand to collect individual samples and run tests which she said at this time are limited.
Bell said her department is not recommending everyone who is ill to get a test to see if they have the COVID-19 infection.
“If disease activity increases significantly, we will advise people to stay home, get better, and seek medical care if symptoms are worsening,” Bell said.”This will allow our healthcare system and other health care providers to give care to those who who are most in need and who are seriously ill.”
DHEC has also received several questions about concerns regarding shopping at grocery stores and other public areas.
Bell said that the transmission of illness require “significant close” contact with someone who is ill.
“Brief contact in public settings like the grocery store is not considered a high risk exposure for all those who are present in that setting.”
Bell reiterated the need for South Carolinians to practice good hygiene which included social distancing.
“If people don’t follow current recommendations for social distancing, and avoiding crowds, we may see a doubling of the rate of cases similar to what we’ve seen in other states,” she said.” We expect a dramatic increase in case count from one day to the next, and the public should be prepared for that.
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“Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health,” DHEC physician consultant Dr. Brannon Traxler said. “This includes working to control spread and sharing measures that best protect our neighbors, friends and family.”
Individuals with signs of illness are asked to stay at home and not attend public gatherings. DHEC encourages the public to follow recommendations for social distancing to protect the health and safety of all South Carolinians. This includes:
- washing your hands frequently
- Covering your cough
- Staying home when you’re sick and not attend public gatherings
- Appropriately disposing tissues and other items that you’ve sneezed or coughed into.
For general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.