WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Deadly storms ripped through South Carolina in the early morning hours Monday, killing at least 9 people.
Gov. Henry McMaster surveyed the damage Monday afternoon. He gave the public an update on the storms that evening, as well as discussing the state’s coronavirus response.
During the storms, two people died in Orangeburg County and two others were seriously hurt in an apparent tornado.
In Hampton County, near the Georgia border, five people died, officials said. In the Upstate, at least one person died in Oconee County. And in Colleton County, a woman died when a tree fell on her house.
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While Monday’s severe weather is top of mind for many, the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina is not slowing down.
Monday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 127 new cases of the virus and five more deaths.
So far, 3,439 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 87 people have died.
Current models shared on DHEC’s website show the peak of the virus could come in late April.
McMaster issued a ‘home or work’ order to help slow the spread of the virus. That went into effect April 7, stating: “All South Carolinians must remain at home or work unless visiting family, exercising, or obtaining essential goods or services.”
The governor also addressed concerns people have had about filing for unemployment. “We think we have a handle on it now, but we’re still bringing in more people. I’d ask people just to have patience, anything that they are entitled to under the law will be given to them. It’ll be retroactive from the very beginning.”
When asked if he is considering closing public K-12 schools through the rest of the school year, McMaster said that decision has not yet been made. Right now, schools are closed through the end of April.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spread mainly from person-to-person by those in close contact, or through coughing and sneezing by someone who’s infected.
Symptoms of the coronavirus can show up between two and 14 days of exposure, health officials say. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But some severe cases can lead to death.
Most people can recover from the virus at home using over-the-counter medications to treat their symptoms.
Those who are at the highest risk of developing severe case of COVID-19 are the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.
Young people who contract the virus are not likely to have a serious case, research shows. However, the CDC said about 40% of people who needed to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus are between the ages of 20 and 54.
Those who are hospitalized with serious cases of COVID-19 have trouble breathing, and many need support from ventilators, which breathe for them. The U.S. is working to produce more of the machines to prepare, but experts fear a shortage of the life-saving devices.
The mortality rate for people with the virus has been widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts note the actual percentage is not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.
The rate is higher than the flu, which kills on average about 0.1% of people who get it, based on a 10-year average of data from the CDC.
Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider. Avoid going to the doctor or an emergency room unless the situation is life-threatening.
People without a doctor can take advantage of free online screening from Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
MUSC has an online platform to aid with coronavirus diagnosis and care. Go to musc.care and access the COVID-19 platform. The service is free with code: COVID19.
Prisma Health also has a free virtual visit, which allows patients to video conference with a doctor instead of coming into a facility. The goal is to keep patients who don’t need to be treated at a hospital at home. Go to prismahealth.org/virtual-visit and use promo code COVID19 for a free virtual visit.
For more information on COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the CDC’s website.