Monday, June 15, 2020
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) — Over 3,400 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the weekend across Georgia and South Carolina.
Over the weekend period of June 13 and 14, South Carolina announced 1,569 cases of coronavirus and seven deaths.
In Georgia, 1,898 cases and 33 deaths were confirmed over the same period.
While data seems to suggest COVID-19 cases in Georgia are on a steady rise, cases in South Carolina have broken records with each passing day. Sunday’s 799 cases were the highest one-day total so far in the Palmetto State.
A spike in South Carolina?
The numbers in South Carolina have continued to concern state leaders. In a news conference last week before the most recent numbers, Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC’s state epidemiologist, shared those concerns.
“Today I am more concerned about COVID-19 in South Carolina than I have ever been before,” Dr. Linda Bell, the State Epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, said. “For the past two weeks, we’ve seen some of our highest daily numbers since the pandemic began.”
Bell blamed the rush to return to normalcy during the Memorial Day weekend behind the recent climb in numbers.
Gov. Henry McMaster joined Bell in asking for state residents to take greater responsibility in helping stem the spread of the virus. However, McMaster said any state efforts like mandating the wearing of masks or another shelter-in-place was unlikely.
Instead, McMaster said, it was going to be up to individuals to prevent the spread.
“Whatever happens, we cannot keep businesses closed forever, we can’t isolate South Carolina from the rest of the world,” McMaster said.
Georgia continues to relax restrictions
A shelter-in-place order for residents in that age group will end on June 16 unless those residents are in a nursing home, a long-term care facility, or have health issues.
The order also lifted restrictions on gatherings of 50 or more people, provided that social distancing of six feet between people was possible.
Bars and restaurants also saw the further relaxing of restrictions. The maximum number of people who can dine-in at a restaurant as one party was removed. Bars could have an occupancy of 50 people or 35 percent of capacity. Buffets and salad bars with cafeteria-style service with restaurant workers serving customers were also given the OK to re-open.
Live performance venues could also soon re-open if they meet certain specifications. Movie theaters are no longer limited to the number of people who can sit together in one party.
Professional and amateur sports teams could also restart soon, provided they follow specifications set-up by their respective league offices or athletic conferences.
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