By Mike McCombs
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is reporting four more cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Beaufort County among the 121 new cases announced on Saturday. DHEC also announced two more deaths in the state.
Saturday’s additions bring the Beaufort County total to 39 among the state’s 660 total cases. The state’s total number of deaths is now 15.
Both deaths were elderly individuals who had underlying health conditions. One patient was a resident of Richland County and one of Horry County.
These number came on the day the United States broke the 2,000 mark in coronavirus fatalities. There have been 2,144 deaths among more than 122,000 cases,
It took the U.S. more than a month from the first death to reach 1,000 deaths. It took less than 48 hours to go from 1,000 to 2,000 deaths.
Of the 39 cases in Beaufort County, 23 are in northern Beaufort County, according to DEHC’s zip code map.
There are five cases each in the Beaufort zip codes of 29902, 29906 and 29907. There are four cases on St. Helena Island (29920) and one in Port Royal (29935).
According to DHEC, there are three confirmed cases on Parris Island (29905). Officials from Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island, however, have publicly confirmed just two cases – on Tuesday, March 24 – none among recruits.
“Our sincere sympathies are with the family and friends of these individuals as well as the family and friends of everyone who has lost someone to this disease,” DHEC’s Dr. Brannon Traxler said in a release with respect to the two additional deaths confirmed Saturday. “Having to report two additional deaths today is a critical reminder of how serious this situation is and how we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.”
According to DHEC, the high number of cases – 121 – is due to reporting cases from a backlog that had developed at DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory due to a nationwide shortage in the chemicals required for performing testing.
As of Friday, DHEC says its laboratory has the necessary chemicals and is processing tests as normal. The lab is operating extended hours and is testing samples seven days a week.