COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSAV) – South Carolina’s governor and the state’s top health official are urging residents to take precautions against COVID-19 ahead of the holiday weekend.
“We want to celebrate this Fourth of July and we want to celebrate the next one too,” said Gov. Henry McMaster Wednesday. “We want the people who are here today to be here then.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell, with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), said that tracking down individual cases is getting increasingly difficult to manage.
“With cases continuing at this level daily — 1,000 one day after the next and after the next —this is severely hampering our ability to perform contact tracing,” she said.
Bell explained that South Carolina has seen an increase in cases since Memorial Day weekend in May.
“We must get these escalating numbers under much better control,” Bell said, adding, “To do that, each of us must make an intentional effort.”
Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is an effort every South Carolinian can make, she and the governor agreed.
McMaster reiterated what he has said in recent days, that a statewide mandate on masks is not going to happen. He added that those measures can be made on a local level — and a personal one.
“The responsibility lies not on someone stopping you, but you stopping you. That’s the whole point,” he said.
The governor said that while large crowds are prohibited in the state, law enforcement “can’t be everywhere” to break up gatherings this weekend.
“We’re going to celebrate. This is a great country for goodness sakes,” McMaster said, adding, “We have got to be careful.”
If we’re not careful, he warned: “this fall will not be like other falls.”
“We will not be able to have college football. We will not be able to have high school football. We won’t be able to have those kinds of sports… concerts, performing arts,” he said. “We just won’t be able to do it.”