With cases of COVID-19 now confirmed in Georgia and North Carolina, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is maintaining their stance on novel coronavirus: get a flu shot and practice general cleanliness routines.

“Public health efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing the spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of the virus,” Katy Richardson, DHEC regional medical director of the Lowcountry, said on Wednesday.

At a Health and Wellness Committee meeting, Richardson told city officials that the agency continues to recommend the flu vaccine, as flu season is still in full swing, washing hands with soap and water, covering your cough, and staying home if you’re sick.

“We will continue to work with federal, state, and local partners to prepare and respond to this situation,” she said.
[content-1] A recent surge in the coronavirus, COVID-19 as it is called by health officials, across the South, including two in Georgia and one in North Carolina, has caused worry for some, sparking face mask and hand sanitizer shortages. No cases have been confirmed in South Carolina.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg is urging residents to “keep calm, wash your hands, and carry on.”

“We are monitoring the situation with DHEC,” he added. “If a spread does occur here, we will be prepared and we’ll act appropriately.”

Richardson says that the large majority of COVID-19 cases have not been serious. “80 percent of those who have confirmed cases are experiencing mild illness only,” Richardson says. “Fourteen percent are experiencing severe illness and five percent have been critically ill. Case fatality rates have really varied by location.”

“The death rate does appear to be dropping, though our best estimate is that the coronavirus or COVID-19 is about four-to-seven-times more deadly than seasonal flu,” she says.

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