South Carolina breaks record for coronavirus cases in a day, Sumter cases increase


South Carolina can no longer say COVID-19 cases peaked during the summer.

On Friday, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 2,470 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the most in a single day ever. That statewide total included 27 from Sumter.

Friday's update eclipsed the previous single-day high, which came on July 18 with 2,322 cases. The biggest increases in this wave continue to be in the Upstate and Midlands regions. Sumter is considered in DHEC's Pee Dee region.

Statewide, nearly 211,000 South Carolinians have now tested positive for the virus, and 4,175 have died.

"Our state's hospital systems are becoming increasingly burdened in caring for all of those who are severely suffering from this deadly virus. Nationally, case counts, percent positivity, hospitalizations, patients on ventilators and deaths are all approaching or surpassing previous highs from the spring and summer," public health officials wrote in a news release Friday.

There are more than 12,000 people with COVID-19 who are hospitalized.

DHEC also reported 29 deaths on Friday, including two in Sumter and two from Lee County. Sumter's were recorded as a middle-aged and an elderly person, and Lee's victims were both elderly.

That brings totals in Sumter County to 4,217 confirmed cases and 99 deaths and 837 cases and 39 deaths in Lee County.

Clarendon has recorded 1,357 cases and 68 deaths.

"It's clear that our state and nation are at a pivotal point in this pandemic," the release said. "We have increasing evidence that household spread is contributing to new cases. This is why it's so important for anyone identified as having had close contact with COVID-19 to follow quarantine guidelines, even if you don't feel ill. Asymptomatic individuals are spreading the virus."

Officials said the arrival of a vaccine will help bring an end to the pandemic, but they have warned that the general public will not have access to the vaccinations likely until next spring.

"A recent study found that face mask-wearing by just 75% of the U.S. population alone would flatten the projected incidence curve and reduce infections by 37%. We can change our course," the release said.

Officials at DHEC, the South Carolina Hospital Association and Medical University of South Carolina say the most effective ways to stop the virus remain: wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, social distancing, limiting contact with those outside your household, getting routinely tested if you are out and about in the community and adhering to quarantine or isolation guidelines.