Williamston area seeing increase in COVID-19 cases


By Stan Welch
Anderson County Emergency Management Director David Baker recently confirmed reports that zip code 29697 (Williamston) has received a significant increase in confirmed positive cases of Covid -19.
As of Tuesday, there were 53 confirmed cases.
He attributes the spike in the number of cases to several factors. The increased testing that is currently being done obviously plays a role. Baker told The Journal, in a telephone interview, that two recent community testing events drew a combined total of more than 1400 people. The first one saw 580 people tested with only thirteen positive test results. “That is obviously a very low number,” said Baker.
“The other test event, at the civic center saw 836 people tested. The final results of those tests are still pending, but Baker said that more testing is certain to result in more new cases of the virus. This testing is very important to Anderson County as it allows us to see an accurate snapshot of those testing positive compared to the total number tested. Where the concern lies, is that many people being tested are asymptomatic and may never display any signs of being infected.”
Baker says that slight increases are occurring throughout the county, but adds that the proximity of Greenville to the Williamston/Pelzer/ West Pelzer areas is also a contributing factor. “As you know, Greenville is experiencing a huge spike in the number of cases, and a lot of people from the northern part of Anderson County travel to and from Greenville on a regular basis, just as Greenville folks travel to Powdersville and Piedmont and other towns in the area.” The Greenville city council approved a requirement that masks be worn by employees and customers in certain businesses in the city limits, such as pharmacies and supermarkets.
Baker also said that approximately four months into the pandemic, the number of cases is still lower than early predictions. “However, with the easing of restrictions, people may be getting a little careless about social distancing and other precautions.”
The Pelzer zipcode (29669) actually has more confirmed cases, at 64. The Piedmont/Powdersville area continues to lead the county. Piedmont (29673) had 158 confirmed cases. Powdersville, which includes Piedmont (29673-158 confirmed cases), Easley (29640-163 confirmed cases, 29642-148 confirmed cases) and Greenville (29611-575 confirmed cases, 29605-382 confirmed cases) zip codes has the most.
Unfortunately, when looking at the SCDHEC data, the zip code breakdown appears the same for zipcodes that are partially in two different counties. For example, confirmed cases for Piedmont, Pelzer and other zipcodes that are in Anderson County and Greenville County show the same totals for both counties. Also the total number of confirmed cases includes all cases, current and recovered, since the first case was reported by DHEC in SC on March 6, 2020.