COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) – Governor Henry McMaster held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on South Carolina’s response to COVID-19.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced they are investigating 14 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the state total to 47 cases.
The new cases are broken down by county below.
- Beaufort County- 1 new case
- Charleston County- 2 new cases
- Calhoun County- 1 new case
- Kershaw County- 5 new cases
- Lexington County- 1 new case
- Richland County- 1 new case
- York County- 1 new case
- Greenville County- 1 new case
- Horry County- 1 new case
In response, McMaster announced several mandates, along with multiple recommendations for the state.
McMaster first ordered all restaurants and bars in South Carolina to close their dine-in services starting Wednesday. Businesses are allowed and encouraged to provide take-out, curbside pick-up and delivery options to customers.
“We know a lot of these things are going to cause problems for businesses, but the enemy we face, this enemy, this virus, is bigger than any sort of irritation or inconvenience that any of us could have,” McMaster said.
McMaster also prohibited organized events of 50 or more attendees to be held at any state, county, city or publicly owned space.
In addition, McMaster announced he is ordering the National Guard to coordinate with hospitals to develop a plan for mobile facilities, infrastructure and resources possibly needed in the future.
“Our goal is to stay ahead, to think ahead, and to stop this virus,” McMaster said.
DHEC will waive regulations and allow medical and nursing school students to help hospitals at this time.
In addition to the above orders, McMaster also announced several requests, not requirements, he has for South Carolinians.
McMaster requested that medical and surgical facilities suspend all non-essential and non life-threatening surgeries and procedures for the next 72 hours. He said this will allow hospitals to put resources towards the needs of COVID-19 treatment and prevention.
The governor then asked all South Carolina insurance companies to pay 100% of the costs associated with doctors office visits related the coronavirus. He said this means he wants any and all testing related to the detection and treatment of COVID-19 to be free to patients.
McMaster also recommended that grocery stores limit the number of essential products such as toilet paper, disinfectant, hand sanitizer and more that customers can buy at a time.
“Ladies and gentleman, people of South Carolina, be safe. Be smart. We don’t need to hoard all of these supplies. Let your neighbors have access to them as well,” McMaster said.
Grocery stores are also asked to make changes to their store hours to allow a “seniors only” shopping time. Many stores across the country are only allowing seniors to shop during the first hour after opening to provide them a clean, comfortable space to shop before the rest of the community.
In addition, McMaster requested that all private companies allow employees to work remotely, unless absolutely necessary.
South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman spoke about schools closings and programs set up in recent days to make sure students in need are fed during the closings.
WSAV has a list of locations where children can get free breakfast and lunch during schools closings. CLICK HERE.
Several South Carolina health systems are offering telehealth options to the public. McMaster urged the public to use these services if possible.
WSAV has the latest updates on the coronavirus in the Coastal Empire and Lowcounty HERE.