[image-2]COVID-19 UPDATES: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced another 1,273 cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, and one more death. Charleston County has another 216 cases, the most in the state, bringing Charleston County’s total to 2,860. Across the state, 30,263 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The percent-positive rate of those tested was 18.3 percent. This is the highest rate so far, an an increase from yesterday’s rate of 16.9 percent.

As of Friday morning, 7,885 hospital beds were in use, which is a 75.35 percent statewide hospital bed utilization rate. We also hit a high for number of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 at 906.

As of 4:53 p.m. June 26, via S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control:

Positive tests in S.C.: 30,263 (+1,273 new positive cases since June 25)
Positive tests in Charleston County (total): 2,860  (+216)
Negative tests in S.C.: 331,410
Deaths in S.C. from COVID-19: 692 (+1)  [image-1]
Gov. Henry McMaster joined state public health officials for a press conference about the state’s coronavirus response. McMaster drove home that COVID-19 is deadly and especially young people (40 and younger) should wear masks, social distance, and get tests if they have any suspicions they may be sick. “Keep that distance, wear that mask, wash your hands, and be considerate. It is deadly important that we do that,” McMaster said.

On a mask mandate, McMaster said: “We can not mandate, it is ineffective, it is impractical to have a mandate that everyone wear a mask because it is not enforceable. For me to tell you that we are going to require people to wear a mask and then not be able to enforce it gives a false sense of security to people who believe that everyone is following the rules.”

On social distancing: When asked what his plan was in case people continue not to social distance, McMaster said: “Until a vaccine comes along, the rate is going to continue to go up, more people are goin’ die, more people are going to get sick, and more people are gonna be sorry and cryin’ about it.”

Other states warn against travel to S.C. Six states including New York have announced that travelers from South Carolina have to quarantine for two weeks. Gov. Henry McMaster also said he had no plans to close the beaches for the Fourth of July.

Charleston 9 Memorial Park vandalized. Early on Friday morning, someone vandalized the Charleston 9 Memorial Park, removing the memorial crosses along Savannah Highway, taking down flags and burning at least one.

What we’re reading:

Eater: After Rushing to Reopen Amid COVID-19, States Restrict Bars and Restaurants Once Again
The Atlantic: A Devastating New Stage of the Pandemic
Rolling Stone: Why Planting Trees Won’t Save Us
Vanity Fair: Beauty in Pain: A Photographer Goes Inside the Atlanta Protests
The Verge: The New COVID-19 Surge May Be Harder to Contain
The Verge: How to stop your glasses from fogging up when you wear a mask

The rest from the City Paper:
Terrace Theater partners with ShortsTV to present new online cinema release series
Call for entries: ‘Garden & Gun’ Made in the South Awards
City of Charleston passes mask ordinance to go into effect July 1
Black classical music series fights persistent funding disparities
Charleston reforms draw scrutiny as department hopes to make policing more equitable