McMaster wants to re-open nursing homes to visitors

in Coronavirus/Health by

From staff reports

If you have not been able to visit a relative or loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Henry McMaster is trying to make it easier to resume visitation.

McMaster on Friday asked, via letter to Chairman Mark Elam, that the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), “promptly issue up-to-date visitation guidelines providing all direction and information deemed necessary to resume – or require resumption if necessary – in-person visitation with residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”

“Restricting visitation to our state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities in March was a heartbreaking necessity,” the governor wrote. “It was the most effective way to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to save the lives of our state’s elderly and at-risk residents.”

“We are committed to protecting the physical, mental and emotional health of our elderly and at-risk people – and their loved ones,” the governor continued. “Although no policy or procedure can eliminate all possibility of risk, it is clear that the time has come to expand current rules to allow in-person visitation by immediate family members, loved ones or caregivers.”

On March 13, the governor directed DHEC to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end of life situations, as DHEC deemed necessary and appropriate. On June 26, the governor directed DHEC to develop guidelines to allow for or facilitate limited visitation in these facilities. The governor then, on July 2, asked DHEC to delay the release of those guidelines due to concerns about the rising rate of infection and hospitalization.

Children’s vaccinations more important during COVID

With the new school year, DHEC is reminding parents how essential routine vaccinations are in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected routine clinical care. Children need to be up to date on the vaccines outlined in the South Carolina Immunization Requirements for Childcare and School before they may attend school. All children need protection whether they attend school in-person or virtually, and the agency provides low-cost vaccines to those who qualify.

“Similar to the rest of the country, South Carolina saw a reduction in routine pediatric vaccine orders and administered doses during the months of March and April in 2020,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said in a release last week. “Vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions in history for reducing disease spread and preventing complications and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. With COVID-19’s prevalence across our state, we need to keep our children healthy and safe at all costs, and we must use the vaccines that medical science has afforded us to help prevent illnesses likes mumps, measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough.”

A hepatitis A vaccine is a new requirement for children for the 2020-2021 school year, as well.

“Children’s routine vaccinations cannot be forgotten and have never been more important,” Bell said. “There is no vaccine for COVID-19, and one of the few things we can do to protect ourselves from this deadly virus is to stay as healthy as possible and avoid contracting vaccine-preventable diseases that can severely complicate the outcome for those who could become ill and also contract COVID-19.”

THE NUMBERS 

From S.C. DHEC

Totals

As of Monday, Aug. 24

S.C. confirmed cases: 111,202

S.C. probable cases: 1,379

S.C. confirmed deaths: 2,387

S.C. probable deaths: 124

Beaufort County cases: 4,554

Beaufort County deaths: 62

Last week’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 755.6

Previous week’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 790.9

Two weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1074.4

Three weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1,418.1

Four weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1,449.6

Five weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1,860.2

Six weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1,663.1

Seven weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1,604.1

Eight weeks ago’s 7-day avg. new cases, state: 1,263.6

Last week’s 7-day average new cases, county: 29.0

Previous week’s 7-day average new cases, county: 35.7

Two weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 65.4

Three weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 83.3

Four weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 83.9

Five weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 72.4

Six weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 72.6

Seven weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 52.4

Eight weeks ago’s 7-day average new cases, county: 38.9

THE LAST WEEK 

Monday, Aug. 24

New S.C. Cases: 543

S.C. deaths: 7

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 20

Beaufort Co. deaths: 0

Percent Positive: 13.3

Sunday, Aug. 23

New S.C. Cases: 663

S.C. deaths: 8

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 30

Beaufort Co. deaths: 0

Percent Positive: 14.9

Saturday, Aug. 22

New S.C. Cases: 825

S.C. deaths: 33

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 45

Beaufort Co. deaths: 0

Percent Positive: 13.7

Friday, Aug. 21

New S.C. Cases: 967

S.C. deaths: 52

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 30

Beaufort Co. deaths: 2

Percent Positive: 13.0

Thursday, Aug. 20

New S.C. Cases: 896

S.C. deaths: 42

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 35

Beaufort Co. deaths: 1

Percent Positive: 15.2

Wednesday, Aug. 19

New S.C. Cases: 704

S.C. deaths: 17

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 17

Beaufort Co. deaths: 1

Percent Positive: 16.8

Tuesday, Aug. 18

New S.C. Cases: 691

S.C. deaths: 47

New Beaufort Co. Cases: 26

Beaufort Co. deaths: 0

Percent Positive: 18.6