ByPatrick Phillips|March 9, 2020 at 4:00 AM EDT - Updated March 9 at 9:10 AM
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster said Sunday said state health authorities are following established protocols, urging people not to panic at news of four new possible cases of the novel coronavirus in the state.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said Sundayit had identified four additional possible cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, in the state.
“There is no cause for public alarm or speculation," McMaster said. "It’s important to remember that each individual is responsible for their own actions and personal hygiene. If you feel sick, stay home and contact your doctor. Or from your home, you can consult with a doctor for free with MUSC’s online web site athttps://MUSC.care. South Carolinians should continue to follow recommendations and information provided by official sources.”
As of Sunday afternoon, a total of six people in the state had tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, according to DHEC.
Those tests are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control for confirmation.
DHEC is currently monitoring 16 people for possible COVID-19 infection. This means they are keeping an eye out for symptoms that could indicate they are sick. Officials say that monitoring takes 14 days, the longest known length of time it takes for people to become symptomatic if they are exposed to the virus.
The agency says as of Sunday, it had completed monitoring of 56 people, meaning they did not show symptoms within the 14-day timeframe.
A total of 11 tests have come back negative, DHEC says.
Potential cases in Kershaw, Spartanburg, Charleston Counties
Two of the four new cases are direct contacts of the first presumptive positive case, an elderly Camden woman who is being treated at a Midlands hospital.
One of them is a woman who has hospitalized for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 and is isolated. The other, an elderly man, was temporarily admitted to a healthcare facility, was discharged, and is isolated at home.
The third new case is a woman from Camden with no known connection, at this time, to the other presumptive positive cases from Camden. She was evaluated at a healthcare facility, was not hospitalized and is currently isolated at home.
The fourth new case is a man from Spartanburg County with no known connection to any of the other presumptive positive cases. He is not hospitalized and is currently isolated at home. Officials say he had recently traveled to Italy.
The remaining case is an MUSC team member in Charleston who had recently traveled to France and Italy and has been isolated at home. DHEC officials said she is not hospitalized and does not require medical treatment.
Only the first case, the elderly woman in her 80s receiving treatment in the Midlands, is one in which investigators are still trying to determine how she became infected.At a Saturday morning news conference, State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said it is not yet clear how she was exposed to the virus.
“We don’t have a history that she has traveled outside of the United States and outside of South Carolina,” she said. “At this time we’re still investigating the potential source of her infection. Community spread is one possibility as her source, if she has no history of travel, and we’re continuing to investigate to see if she had contact with someone who did potentially travel elsewhere and then that would make this case a connection to a travel-associated case, and we’re still working to investigate all of those details.”
The Kershaw County School District said Sunday two high school studentswho are interns at the emergency room of a Kershaw medical facility are self-isolating as a precaution.
The students, one from North Central High School and the other from Camden High School, were at the hospital when a Kershaw County woman in her 80s was admitted. That woman became one of the first of two patients to test presumptive positive for COVID-19.
District officials say they were advised that the students would not be able to transmit the disease for several days. However, they have asked the families of the students to self-isolate just as a precaution next week.
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