SC reports 2,424 new cases of COVID-19, 42 more deaths Wednesday

Thursday’s report brings the total number of cases since the outbreak began in South Carolina...
Thursday’s report brings the total number of cases since the outbreak began in South Carolina to 16,441.(WIS)
Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 5:29 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced 2,424 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and 42 additional confirmed deaths Wednesday, Dec. 16.

This brings the total number of people with confirmed cases since the outbreak began to 241,471 and confirmed deaths to 4,444.

Of the 42 deaths reported, seven were middle-aged (35-64 years old) and 35 were elderly individuals (65 and older).

One death dates back to Dec. 4, but the majority of them happened between Dec. 11 and 13, DHEC reported.

Please click here for the county of residence and date of death for each person whose death was reported.

DHEC also announced 80 new probable cases of the virus and two new probable deaths. That brings the total of probable cases to 18,648 and the total number of probable deaths to 356 in the state since the outbreak began.

For more information about why DHEC reports probable cases and deaths, keep reading.

DHEC uses a document to show county-by-county numbers of new confirmed and probable cases. Cases are counted by a patient’s zip code of residence.

Included in this article is context on testing, recoveries, hospitalization, death rates, and more. Keep scrolling to find all of that information in detail.

Below is DHEC’s Key Indicators dashboard. It’s meant to give an “at-a-glance view” of important data points used to measure the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Data includes information for the current day, previous day, and previous 30 days. That’s used to show the public trends in cases, testing, deaths, hospitalizations, and more.

DHEC says all of these factors need to be considered when evaluating the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina.

DHEC encourages everyone who is out and about in the community to get tested routinely, at least each month.

If people plan to travel or gather for the holidays, officials say they should be tested before and after those events to “be positive you’re negative.” Find testing locations by clicking or tapping here.

  • Negative diagnostic tests (molecular/PCR viral tests) - 2,457,608
  • Positive diagnostic tests (molecular/PCR viral tests) - 315,418
  • Total diagnostic tests - 2,773,026
  • Negative antigen tests - 276,739
  • Positive antigen tests - 34,538
  • Total antigen tests - 311,277
  • Negative serology (antibody) tests - 83,898
  • Negative serology (antibody) tests - 13,817
  • Total serology (antibody) tests - 97,715
  • Negative tests of unknown type* - 1,233
  • Positive tests of unknown type* - 126
  • Total tests of unknown type* - 1,359
  • Total number of tests performed in South Carolina by DHEC and private labs - 3,183,377

*Unknown test types refer to tests with an unrecognized type. As (DHEC) continues to investigate unknown test types they will be reassigned as more information becomes available.

>> To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, click or tap here.

Percent positive refers to the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the number of tests being performed. The percent positive has remained high since early June.

DHEC says the percent positive from the 11,786 tests reported to them statewide on Monday was 20.6% (not including antibody tests).

When daily case numbers are high and the percent positive is high, that indicates more virus spread in the community, DHEC said.

To see the percent positive since the outbreak began in South Carolina, use the chart below, and click on “Testing.”

As of Tuesday morning, DHEC says 80.26% of inpatient beds in South Carolina are in use while 78.89% of ICU beds are in use.

There are 1,046 hospitalized patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are under investigation for having the virus, DHEC said. Of those, 261 COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.

DHEC is reporting 1,929 ventilators available in the state with 521 of them in use. COVID-19 patients account for 111 of those.

Click here for more information on hospital bed occupancy by county.

For information on nursing homes and long-term care facilities impacted by the virus, click or tap here.

As of Dec. 14, DHEC has estimated 88.0% of people who didn’t die from the virus, and that they have “symptom onset data” for, have recovered. They only have that data for 152,067 people. Of those people, 3,311 have unfortunately died.

Based on that information, DHEC estimates that about 130,905 of those people have recovered so far. The rest of those people are still fighting the virus, DHEC says.

Note that this data is only available for about 60% of the total COVID-19 cases reported in South Carolina.

When looking at the confirmed numbers of cases and deaths, one could figure the death toll from the virus is about 1.84% in South Carolina.

However, DHEC previously estimated that for every confirmed case of the virus, there could be up to nine other people in the community who have also been infected.

If that is the case, as DHEC suggests, there may have been more than 2,173,239 coronavirus cases in the state so far. That would mean the death toll could be more like 0.20%.

On June 18, DHEC announced it would begin reporting probable cases and deaths. A probable case, according to DHEC officials, is an individual who has not had a confirmatory viral test performed but meets the following qualifications:

  • Has epidemiologic evidence and clinical evidence of infection, or
  • A positive antibody blood test and either epidemiologic evidence or clinical evidence.

A probable death, according to DHEC, is a person whose death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death but did not undergo confirmatory viral testing.

South Carolinians are encouraged to monitor for symptoms, practice social distancing, avoid touching frequently touched items (such as doorknobs and handrails), and regularly wash their hands, especially after being in a public place.

To help protect against COVID-19, DHEC encourages everyone to wear a mask covering whenever in public. When wearing a mask, South Carolinians should:

  • Make sure you can breathe through it
  • Wear it whenever going out in public
  • Make sure it covers your nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands before taking it on or off
  • Wash after using

You should not:

  • Use on children under age 2
  • Touch the front of the mask
  • Use surgical masks needed by healthcare workers

DHEC says homemade masks can reduce the chance of people spreading the virus and keep them from touching their face. They are recommended to be worn in places where social distancing is difficult -- grocery stores, pharmacies, etc...

People who have the virus but aren’t showing symptoms can reduce their chance of spreading the virus by wearing a mask, so everyone is recommended to wear one.

For a video tutorial on how to make your own mask, click or tap here.

Individuals with signs of illness are asked to stay at home and not attend public gatherings.

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.

Some people who have the virus don’t show any symptoms, but they can still spread it to others. The CDC estimates that up to 35% of all cases are asymptomatic.

Those who are at the highest risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 are the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.

The CDC says about 3% of people who show symptoms of the virus need to be hospitalized, but that percentage is doubled for seniors.

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 18 and 64.

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 life-saving devices.

Children are the least likely to develop COVID-19. However, a serious but rare inflammatory condition in children has been linked with the coronavirus. Click or tap here to read more about that.

The mortality rate for people with the virus was first widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts noted at the time that the actual percentage was not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.

As of mid-May, the CDC estimates about 0.4% of people who get COVID-19 will die from it.

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 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 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.

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