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Officials: 200 in S.C. have tested positive for virus

South Carolina health officials announced 22 new cases of coronavirus Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 195 cases.
New positive COVID-19 cases were detected in 12 counties, according to a news release from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Health officials said positive cases have been reported in 33 of the state’s 46 counties. Three infected people have died in the state.
“We recognize the hardships that are facing many South Carolinians as we continue to respond to this ongoing public health event,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, a physician with the state agency, said in the release. “We encourage the public to focus on things that each of us can do to limit the spread of illness by washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough, and practicing social distancing.”
County and local officials in the Charleston area held a news conference Sunday afternoon that was broadcast online to encourage people to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg urged non-essential businesses to shut their doors and encouraged people to practice social distancing, use good hygiene and quarantine themselves if they feel sick.
“If we don’t follow rules like this, we will spend the next few months watching funerals online — literally, there could be thousands of them — because we won’t be able to gather together even to say goodbye to our loved ones,” he said. “We’re here today to ask our citizens to follow these rules and choose life, choose life for the Low Country.”
The State newspaper reported that Abbeville Area Medical Center learned on Saturday that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. A hospital official said the employee is self-quarantined at home, and a news release said the risk is considered low because the employee had limited exposure to other people. But hospital officials looked at the employee’s schedule and notified anyone who might have been exposed.
“The health and safety of our patients, their families and our employees are our highest priority,” hospital CEO Dean Turner said in the release. “We are working in partnership with DHEC to make sure the appropriate follow-up measures are being taken.”
The virus causes only minor flu-like symptoms in most people, who recover in a matter of weeks. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death in some, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health problems. Severe cases are often only able to breathe with respirators.
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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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