CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster has directed the Department of Health and Environmental Control to postpone the release of guidelines for allowing limited visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“We must protect the lives of our elderly and at-risk citizens and protect the lives of the front line healthcare workers in these facilities,” McMaster said on Thursday afternoon. ”This is a heartbreaking situation for loved ones, but the rising rate of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations leaves us no choice.”
The governor also urged everyone in the state to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
“Again, I ask every South Carolinian to wear a mask, socially distance, and frequently wash your hands,” McMaster said.
This afternoon, state health officials reported 1,629 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths.
Charleston County had the second highest number of cases reported on Thursday with 244 surpassed by Greenville County with 246. There are currently 1,125 hospital beds occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.
On Wednesday, McMaster said if COVID-19 cases continue to increase in South Carolina, current restrictions on crowds may continue into the Fall.
“If we continue to see this kind of danger going across our state, we will have no choice but to keep these restrictions on crowds and gatherings in place, and that means this Fall will not be like other Falls. We will not be able to have college football, would not be able to have high school football,” McMaster said during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The governor said businesses that are currently closed like movie theaters and spectator sports would not reopen if the current increase of cases continues.