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Beatty orders halt to jury trials due to COVID

Citing the ongoing increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty has ordered that jury trials come to a halt.

“In light of the ongoing increase in COVID-19 cases throughout South Carolina, and the expectation by the medical community and experts that the number of positive cases will continue to increase in the near future, it is prudent to once again make changes to the operations of the circuit courts for the protection of those who work within the courts, as well as those who serve our state by participating in jury service,” Beatty wrote in a Dec. 4 order.

South Carolina was one of the first states to resume jury trials in August in the midst of the pandemic. Hearings will continue as scheduled.

According to the latest figures from the Associated Press, the number of new COVID-19 cases in South Carolina is now greater than the levels the state saw when it became one of the nation’s hotspots this summer.

More than 2,450 new COVID-19 cases had been reported in South Carolina in each of the three days leading up to Dec. 6. That’s more than any single day of new infections during the July peak of the virus in the state.

The 2,715 new infections on Dec. 5 were the most reported on one day since the pandemic started in March, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, following 2,470 new reported cases on Dec. 4.

South Carolina reported 2,538 new cases on Dec. 6, putting the seven-day average of new cases is now above 2,000 for the first time.

South Carolina also reported 43 deaths from the coronavirus on Dec 6., and the death rate is also climbing.

As of Dec. 6, South Carolina had reported 216,378 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 15,721 probable ones, 4,237 deaths and 329 probable deaths from COVID-19.

Staff reports

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