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Coronavirus latest: Lancaster reports 3rd death in 3 days, York adds nearly 60 cases

The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) logo The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) 8/7/2020 By Cailyn Derickson and Andrew Dys, The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

YORK COUNTY, SC

For the third consecutive day, health officials announced another Lancaster County resident died after contracting the novel coronavirus.

The Lancaster County resident, age 65 or older, died Monday, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control. In total, there have been 21 COVID-19-related deaths in Lancaster County, according to state officials.

A York County resident also died, health officials said. The resident, who was 65 or older, died July 13, according to DHEC on Thursday. In total, there have been 29 COVID-19-related deaths in York County, according to state officials. There have been three deaths reported in the county in the last week.

York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said that almost all of the county’s deaths her office confirmed as COVID-19 as the cause have been among older people who had other preexisting conditions.

Across the state, DHEC identified 1,295 new cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total reported infections to 96,132. Officials also reported another 44 South Carolinians have died as a result of the virus, including the two people from York and Lancaster counties. The state’s death toll is now 1,863.

County case numbers

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In addition to the recent deaths, health officials announced that York County added 59 new coronavirus cases Thursday.

The county has had a total of 3,381 cases confirmed since the pandemic started in March, according to DHEC. York County’s cases doubled from Wednesday, but county officials said Thursday’s jump could be the result of a batch of tests being reported at the same time, York County Emergency Management Director Chuck Haynes said.

Even with increased testing and positive cases from those tests, the higher number could also reflect community spread, Haynes said.

But generally, there has been a slight downward trend in positive cases reported over the past 14 days, Haynes aid.

“The information we are being provided from DHEC is that the numbers are trending downward to some degree,” Haynes said. “But people still need to be vigilant.”

Haynes said social distancing and wearing a mask while in public remain the recommendation of county officials.

A statewide mask mandate went into effect this week. Face coverings are required in restaurants and entertainment venues, including gyms, theaters, parks, racetracks and auditoriums, as well as state government buildings.

Lancaster County added 29 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 1,114 confirmed cases, according to DHEC. After a few days reporting lower case counts, the rise in cases Thursday has lefts officials concerned about community spread, said Darren Player, Lancaster County Emergency Management Director.

Most of those were reported in the 29720 ZIP code around the city of Lancaster, Player said.

“While there may have been a small lag in tests being finished by private labs and sent into DHEC, any time we see a high number approaching 30 cases in a day in Lancaster County we are worried that there is more community spread happening again,” Player said.

Lancaster County Council is set to discuss masks in public at its Monday meeting.

The discussion is not expected to be a vote and there has been no motion by Council to enact a mask requirement, Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said.

Cases in Chester County now have topped 600. The county added 14 new coronavirus cases Thursday, for a total of 609 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, according to DHEC.

Museums closed

York County’s museums remain temporarily closed despite being able to re-open amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Henry McMaster ordered all nonessential businesses in the state to close, including museums, on April 1 because of the COVID-19 crisis. Museums were allowed to re-open May 22.

York County’s museums closed on March 16 but have continued to offer programs online. The county’s Culture & Heritage Museums include the Museum of York County in Rock Hill, Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, McCelvey Center in York and the Main Street Children’s Museum in Rock Hill.

Carowinds closed

Carowinds officials said Tuesday the amusement park will remain closed through the end of the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The park accounts for nearly half of the visitors to York County a year, Billy Dunlap, CEO of the tourism group Visit York County, said.

Testing and hospitalizations

The percentage of tests that come back positive — another indicator of the coronavirus’ spread — has been rising over the last month, according to DHEC officials.

On Wednesday, 6,589 tests were conducted statewide, with about 20% having positive results, DHEC reported. In May, at its lowest point, the percentage of positive tests averaged 2% to 4%.

Since March, labs across the state have completed 812,013 tests.

Of the 1,115 intensive care unit beds in use across the state Thursday, 356 were occupied by coronavirus patients or those who are suspected of having COVID-19. That means that about 32% of ICU beds in use are being filled by likely COVID-19 patients.

Of those patients, 276 were on ventilators, according to DHEC.

Where to get tested

On Friday, Affinity Health Center will have free curbside testing at First Baptist Church in Clover from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a press release from the center. Testing is free and requires no referral or insurance.

Affinity will continue free curbside testing on the third Friday of each month at Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church in York from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be free testing in Chester County on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon outside the Chester County Government Center, 1476 J.A. Cochran Bypass. The testing is free and does not require an appointment or insurance, Chester City Council member Angela Douglas said.

Cases by ZIP code

As of Wednesday night, there are cases in the following ZIP codes:

York County

? 29704 - 51

? 29708 - 347

? 29710 - 379

? 29715 - 407

? 29717 - 16

? 29730 - 850

? 29732 - 817

? 29745 - 368

Lancaster County

? 29058 - 45

? 29067 - 107

? 29707 - 218

? 29720 - 786

Chester County

? 29014 - 36

? 29055 - 104

? 29706 - 359

? 29712 - 23

? 29714 - 42

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©2020 The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

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