On Tuesday, state officials updated the number of York County coronavirus cases to 56.
The county has recorded its first death.
“The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced four additional deaths related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the state’s total number of deaths to 22. Three patients were elderly individuals who also had underlying health conditions, and one patient was a middle-aged individual who did not have underlying health conditions. They were residents of Aiken, Calhoun, Marion, and York counties.”
I asked a media representative how many were Fort Mill cases in zip code 29715, a breakdown they had provided last week that showed this area with the highest concentration of cases in the county.
This time, they aren’t saying.
DHEC officials seem worried about identifying people by using zip code information. But they said they are working on an “appropriate way to provide positive case information publicly.”
Here is Tuesday’s response from DHEC media relations regarding Fort Mill’s numbers and what local residents should do if they want to be tested:
“At this point, we don’t recommend that everyone who is ill to get tested just to see if they have COVID-19. This will allow our healthcare systems and our health our providers to give care to those who need it most. The state is moving from a containment strategy to a disease mitigation strategy, and there’s less focus on the number of individual cases and more focus on limiting overall spread.
“We encourage anyone with concerns to reach out to their health care provider, however, most individuals who contract COVID-19 will recover at home by treating their symptoms with over-the-counter medicine. If individuals’ symptoms worsen, they should reach out to their health care provider for assistance. If a health care provider does recommend that an individual should get tested for COVID-19, several health care systems have implemented drive-through options.
“It’s important to know that there are many people in the community who have the virus and have never been tested. Because of this, we urge all South Carolinians to take the same daily precautions to prevent against the virus, regardless of the number of positive cases reported in their community.
“Our county-level information on positive cases is updated every afternoon here. Regarding the ZIP code information, please see the information below, as we’ve had several other outlets around the state also reach out about it:
“To support our county administrators and emergency managers during this unprecedented pandemic, DHEC coordinates with EMD to hold daily telebriefings with county officials across the state. These telebriefings occur seven days a week and provide a daily, direct line of communication between county officials, EMD and DHEC to address county-specific questions and concerns.
“As requested by county officials, on March 27, DHEC began providing ZIP codes with positive cases to county officials, and will continue to do so.
“DHEC initially also provided this information on its website, however, the amount of information DHEC provides publicly is limited, particularly in cases that occur in small or other close-knit communities where even basic pieces of information could identify an individual. The Department is in the process of overhauling its COVID-19 webpage, and as part of that revamping, we’re working on the most appropriate way to provide positive case information publicly while also protecting individual privacy, as required by state and federal laws. The website revamping is anticipated to go live this week.
“We want all South Carolinians, regardless of the number of reported positive cases within their community, to take the same daily precautions to protect against this virus.I hope this helps.”