DHEC estimates 9,000 COVID-19 cases by May 16


On Wednesday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported 130 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and 11 additional deaths.

This brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 5,881. There have been 203 deaths. Most of the deaths have been elderly individuals, many with underlying conditions.

On March 6, the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in South Carolina. The projections currently indicate that South Carolina may see almost 1,208 new cases per week by mid-May. The total number of cases is estimated to grow to 9,064 confirmed cases on May 16.
Based on the available symptom data for 4,454 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, DHEC estimates that as of April 27, 76 percent of individuals who tested positive have recovered from the illness and 24 percent remain ill.
As of Wednesday morning, 4,480 hospital beds were available and 6,932 utilized, which is a 60.7% statewide hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 6,932 beds currently used, only 311 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.


According to the DHEC update Wednesday, six of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals in Beaufort (1), Berkeley (1), Clarendon (2), and Greenville (2) counties. Five deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals in Clarendon (1), Florence (2), Greenville (1), and Richland (1) counties.

The number of new cases by county are:
Aiken (3), Anderson (6), Barnwell (1), Beaufort (2), Chesterfield (1), Clarendon (9), Darlington (3), Dillon (3), Edgefield (3), Fairfield (1), Florence (9), Greenville (26), Greenwood (2), Kershaw (4), Lancaster (3), Lexington (9), Marlboro (1), Orangeburg (3), Richland (20), Spartanburg (5), Sumter (3), Williamsburg (4), York (9)

Testing in South Carolina
As of April 28, DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory has conducted 14,862 tests for COVID-19. Of these tests, 1,963 were positive and 12,899 were negative. A total of 54,217 total tests by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs have been conducted in the state. DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week. The Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours.

Cases by County and ZIP Code
DHEC’s interactive maps were updated to include the latest confirmed and estimated COVID-19 cases by county and ZIP code. The estimated cases represent possible cases based on evidence that for every known case of COVID-19, there could be up to 9 people with the virus who remain unidentified in the community. By including estimates, DHEC hopes to better convey the risk of disease spread within our communities.

How South Carolinians Can Protect Themselves
Evidence is increasing about the high rates of infection in people who do not have symptoms and don’t know they are infectious. This places everyone at risk of getting the virus or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else. South Carolinians are encouraged to stay home and minimize contact with people outside their households to prevent the spread of the disease. Other steps the public should take include:

  • Practicing social distancing
  • Wearing a mask while out in public
  • Avoiding touching frequently touched items
  • Regularly washing your hands
  • Monitoring for symptoms

Anyone with concerns about their health should reach out to their healthcare provider or use the telehealth services provided by several health care systems. For telehealth options and the latest information about DHEC’s COVID-19 response efforts, please visit scdhec.gov/COVID-19. Visit scdmh.net for stress, anxiety and mental health resources from the S.C. Department of Mental Health.

*As new information is provided to the department, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 map will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.