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County COVID-19 cases at 18, boat ramps reopened

After two days of no new positive COVID-19 cases reported in Laurens County, the number of confirmed cases grew by four to 18 in the county, including the first confirmed case in Waterloo.
The numbers also grew dramatically across South Carolina with 276 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as the state moves toward what DHEC officials expect as a May 1 apex in the state.
The new confirmed cases brings the statewide total to 3,931 in total with 109 deaths.
“No one is exempt from the risk of exposure, and people in your community are getting sick and even dying,” said Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC epidemiologist and director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control.
Bell also continued to warn of the dangers to minorities, the elderly and those who have other medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease. According to Bell, African Americans have made up 41% of cases in South Carolina, despite making up 27% of the population. Also, 56% of the state’s death total is composed of African Americans.
Despite the growing numbers, Gov. Henry McMaster reopened public boat ramps and docks for recreational activities. while continuing to urge social distancing in all situations.
“We still insist that people watch their social distancing and have no large gatherings,” McMaster said. “It’s too early to celebrate. We still have to keep a lid on it.”
Other executive orders signed by McMaster will remain in effect at least through the end of April.
“To (rescind those orders) too quickly would be reckless,” McMaster said.
The governor also announced an “Accelerate South Carolina” program that will utilize federal funds to help school systems, local governments and municipalities.
DHEC will also be deploying rapid-testing equipment to areas that have had a dearth of testing capabilities.
The breakdown by zip code for Laurens County’s 18 cases are: Gray Court 5, Clinton 5, Laurens 3, Fountain Inn 2, Waterloo 1, Mountville 1 and one unknown.

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