COLUMBIA, S.C. – Three of the additional 15 coronavirus deaths announced Monday by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control were from Florence County.

Two of the Florence County deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals.

Florence County’s death toll now stands at 23.

DHEC announced 140 new COVID-19 cases. Of those, 21 were in Florence County, the most new cases of any county in South Carolina. Florence County’s total cases now stands at 444. Thank ranks fifth out of 46 counties, behind Richland (1,119), Greenville (946), Charleston (491) and Lexington (484).

The total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina now is 7,792, and 346 people have died.

Eleven of the deaths reported Monday occurred in elderly individuals in Charleston (1), Clarendon (1), Florence (1), Hampton (1), Lancaster (1), Lexington (3) and Richland (3) counties, and four of the deaths occurred in middle-aged individuals in Fairfield (1), Florence (2) and Sumter (1) counties.

The number of new cases by county:

Aiken (1), Allendale (1), Anderson (1), Beaufort (1), Berkeley (3), Charleston (10), Chester (3), Chesterfield (1), Clarendon (2), Darlington (5), Dillon (7), Dorchester (2), Fairfield (1), Florence (21), Georgetown (1), Greenville (13), Greenwood (1), Horry (5), Kershaw (4), Lancaster (1), Laurens (1), Lee (9), Lexington (6), Marion (1), Marlboro (2), Richland (19), Saluda (3), Spartanburg (3), Sumter (3), Union (1), Williamsburg (5) and York (3).

As South Carolina enhances its testing efforts, DHEC set a goal with its AccelerateSC partners to identify 1,000 contact tracers by May 31. On Monday, DHEC met that goal.

Contact tracing is a disease control measure that helps stop the spread of diseases like COVID-19 by identifying close contacts of people who tested positive for an illness. During normal operations, DHEC employs 20 contact tracers but has increased that number to more than 400 as part of the agency’s COVID-19 response. On Monday, DHEC retained an additional 1,400 contact tracers through contracts with two private staffing companies, Apple One and C-Trace. Additionally, since DHEC created a contact tracing webpage on May 8, 667 members of the public have expressed interest in receiving training to become one.

DHEC currently has 14 mobile testing clinics scheduled across the state, with more planned in the coming days. The screening and specimen collections are free for residents and are part of DHEC’s ongoing efforts to increase testing in underserved and rural communities across the state. To find a mobile testing clinic near you, visit DHEC’s mobile testing clinic webpage. Locations are regularly added to the webpage as new information is provided.

On Monday, DHEC began the first of three phases of testing in South Carolina nursing homes. As announced Wednesday, DHEC – with testing support from LabCorp and extensive coordination and cooperation from the South Carolina Healthcare Association and Leading Age South Carolina – will test approximately 40,000 residents and staff members at the state’s 194 nursing homes. An estimated 15,000 residents and staff at 74 facilities are part of this initial round of testing. Results of the testing will be reflected in the impacted facilities list on DHEC’s COVID-19 demographics page. The list is updated twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

DHEC provided an updated summary regarding cases confirmed to date as well as projections through May 30. The projections currently indicate that South Carolina might see a drop from approximately 1,000 new cases per week to 900 new cases per week by the end of May. The total number of cases is estimated to grow to 10,493 confirmed cases during the last week of May.

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