Coronavirus update: First three cases confirmed in Beaufort County

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It may have already been here, but the COVID-19 novel coronavirus has officially made it to Beaufort County. 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Saturday afternoon that is investigating six additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, three of which are in Beaufort County.

According to DHEC’s release, “two cases are close contacts of each other and had known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 from another state. The other case has no known connection to any other case and recently traveled internationally. All three cases are currently isolated at home.”

This brings the total number of cases statewide to 19.

Beaufort Memorial spokesperson Courtney McDermott could not confirm whether the Beaufort County cases were among those sent to the hospital for testing.

Four Beaufort Memorial staff members were in self-quarantine following contact with two patients at the hospital who may have been infected. According to McDermott, they “remain in self-quarantine pending the results of their tests.”

Beaufort Memorial Hospital expands visitor restrictions

In response to DHEC’s confirmation of cases in Beaufort County, Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) expanded visitor restrictions, effective immediately.

  • Only immediate family members over age 18 are allowed to visit patients.
  • Only one visitor per patient is allowed. Additional visitors should not come to the hospital.
  • Groups of visitors “taking turns” in and out of a patient’s room will not be permitted.
  • Visitors with any symptoms of illness will not be allowed to visit patients or patient care areas.
  • All pre-existing visitor restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

The patient’s provider and care team will work with families who have special circumstances, such as a critically ill or injured family member, on a case-by-case basis.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our patients and staff,” Beaufort Memorial President and CEO Russell Baxley said in a release. “Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic we ask for patience and cooperation as we work to provide the best care possible to our patients.”

Beaufort County School District expects a Sunday announcement

Beaufort County School District’s Director of Communications Jim Foster issued a release to confirm that none of the three confirmed Beaufort County cases involves a Beaufort County School District student or employee.

Superintendent Frank Rodriguez will be consulting with DHEC, the governor’s office and State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, and there will be an announcement on Sunday regarding school schedules.

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