The number of people who have tested positive for the COVID-19 in Laurens County grew to eight through Wednesday afternoon, and one county resident has died from the virus and another is suspected to have succumbed to it.
According to the Laurens County Coroner’s Office, two persons exhibiting symptoms of the virus have at Prisma Health Laurens County Memorial Hospital have died. Pathology and COVID-19 testing is still pending. DHEC confirmed the definitive COVID-19 death Wednesday.
The Laurens County Coroner’s Office confirmed that Clinton’s Terry Campbell died from the virus Tuesday.
The statewide count for positive COVID-19 tests grew to 2,417 Tuesday and 51 deaths, according to the South Caroling Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The six previous confirmed cases in Laurens County are from the Laurens (1), Clinton (2), Mountville (1) and Gray Court (2). Locations for the latest two cases released Wednesday have not been released by DHEC.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued another executive order intended to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus Monday afternoon, this one requiring those who are not working or attending to essential needs to remain at home.
“Too many people are out on the roads. To many people are out on the water,” McMaster said. “Too many people are out in the stores and too many people are not complying with our requests (to remain at home).”
DHEC also released estimates for the total number of cases in the county before the pandemic passes. According to those estimates, 72 positive cases are expected in the county and 16,853 across the state as the virus expectedly hits its peak in the state later at the end of April or early May.
“Right now, we are experiencing the steepest part of the upward slope of the bell curve of infection,” said Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn. “I know that I had wished that measures of this type would not be necessary, but this is an emergency. If we do not do all that we can now, we will regret the consequences when we see the level of infections in two to three weeks. What we all need to do at this point is recognize the seriousness of this moment in our nation’s history, pull together, sacrifice what we can, and each do our part to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.”
DHEC is also advising residents to wear masks while in public, and the South Carolina National Guard announced Monday that it is helping to expand medical facilities across the state to include 3,500 more beds for potential COVID-19 patients.
“Over the last week, we have seen an accelerated rate of new infections,” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist and DHEC’s director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control. “We have had an increase of an average of 90 new infections per day.”
McMaster said the time was right to draw a harder line. South Carolina was one of only eight states in the U.S. to not issue complete stay-at-home orders. The order restricts residents from leaving home unless they are recreating outdoors, obtaining an essential good or service, working or seeing family.
“We want to reduce the rate of infection and also reduce the rate of non-compliance and also reduce the number of people who are losing their jobs because of these necessary orders,” he said.