SCDHEC to begin reporting COVID-19 related to nursing home facilities

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To better define the scope of COVID-19 within South Carolina nursing homes and similar facilities, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is providing regular updates on those facilities that have an associated case of COVID-19, as well as the number of positive cases for either residents or staff members.

The spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 is common in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and similar congregate facilities due to shared living and dining areas as well as limitations for social distancing. DHEC has worked, and continues to work, closely with these health care facilities to provide guidance and help implement recommendations for protecting residents as well as the dedicated workers who care for them.

“This virus is taking its toll on those most vulnerable to it, including our friends and family who reside in nursing homes and assisted care facilities,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, DHEC Public Health Director. “Around the country, nursing homes and similar facilities have been challenged to implement unprecedented safety precautions while also providing important care to their residents.”

On March 13, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order that stopped public visitation to these types of facilities in order to help protect the vulnerable population of residents, the staff who care for them, and outside visitors. This order is still in effect today.

DHEC plans to provide early next week the number of COVID-19 related deaths associated with these facilities as well. DHEC is compiling and verifying this information to help present a fuller picture of COVID-19’s impact on these types of congregate facilities.

“We thank all of our health care professionals including our nursing, assisted living and extended care facility workers for all the selfless work they’re doing to help protect against further spread of this disease in those who are most susceptible to it,” Duwve said.

For the latest COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.scdhec.gov/covid19.

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