DHEC: Mask ordinances are working across state

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control updated statistics Tuesday that shows communities with mask requirements in place see a significantly slower rate of COVID-19 infection compared to those without such requirements.

According to DHEC, places with mask requirements have shown a 44.2% greater decrease in the total number of COVID-19 cases during the initial four-to-five weeks following implementation of the requirements.

“The data continues to reinforce what we’ve already known about proper wearing of masks and their success in helping to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician. “Wearing a mask every day in public is critical, however, not all face coverings provide the same protection. A recent study by Duke University shows that neck gaiters may be among the least effective types of face coverings for preventing the spread of respiratory droplets.”

DHEC went on to say in a release that neck gaiters can be effective depending on the types of fabric they are made from.

Neither Laurens County nor any of its municipalities have put forth ordinances requiring face coverings in an attempt to counter the spread of COVID-19, though some private businesses and government buildings require face coverings upon entry.

DHEC also confirmed 24 new positive cases in Laurens County Tuesday, part of 909 new cases reported statewide. No newly confirmed deaths were reported for the county, but 18 additional confirmed deaths were reported for the state, bringing that total to 2,408.

Countywide, DHEC reports 1,440 confirmed cases, an increase of 92 from a week ago. Two mobile testing sites were operated in the county over the past week. Fifty COVID-19 related deaths have also been confirmed in Laurens County since the beginning of the pandemic and four others are probable.

Free COVID-19 testing is set for Friday at the Laurens County Health Department from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. No appointments are necessary.

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