BY MINDY LUCAS
The first death related to the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in South Carolina has occurred, according to state health officials.
The patient was from Lexington County and was a resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility, according to a news release issued by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Monday, March 16.
“We regret to report that South Carolina has suffered its first death in an elderly person recently reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19…” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Physician Consultant. “Our state health officials continue to work with national and local partners to respond to this ongoing public health matter.”
DHEC is working with the facility to identify all contacts with the individual and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We know that many South Carolinians are concerned about what impact this virus may have on themselves, their loved ones, and our state,” said Dr. Traxler. “This is a rapidly evolving public health event, and DHEC takes every new infectious disease seriously. This is an example of the importance of taking precautions to protect those at higher risk, like the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions.”
DHEC will alert the public on all COVID-19 related deaths, the release stated.