County up to 3 COVID-19 deaths

County still has one of SC’s lowest infection rates

COLUMBIA — The deaths of two more Pickens County residents were attributed to COVID-19-related issues last week, bumping the county’s death toll from the virus up to three.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Thursday that a middle-aged county resident had died of virus-related issues, and DHEC reported the death of an elderly resident on Friday.

Although officials have released no other details about any of the three local residents who have died of the virus, a DHEC spreadsheet with virus cases in county nursing home facilities over the past 30 days lists the death of one resident at Foothills Presbyterian Community in Easley. The facility has had five confirmed virus cases among residents and two among staff members, according to DHEC. Another county nursing home, Easley Place, has had three residents and two staff members test positive for the virus over the past 30 days as well.

Pickens County had had 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of DHEC’s daily news release Monday afternoon. Officials also provide numbers giving estimated cases based on available data, as well as total possible cases. For Pickens County, DHEC estimated 571 cases and said there were 664 total possible cases, according to figures available Monday afternoon.

The county’s infection rate of 73.3 confirmed virus cases per 100,000 residents was fifth-lowest among the state’s 46 counties as of Monday afternoon.

Across the state, 8,942 residents had tested positive for the virus as of Monday afternoon, and 391 people had died of virus-related issues.

DHEC reported Thursday that an estimated 84 percent of COVID-19 patients across the state had recovered from the virus.

DHEC is working with community partners to enhance COVID-19 testing across the state as part of the agency’s statewide testing strategy. DHEC’s goal is to test 2 percent of the population, or 110,000 South Carolinians, per month. Officials said they are currently on track to meet the target by the end of the month. As of Monday, more than 60,000 tests had been conducted for the month of May.

Officials also said Monday that as South Carolina increases testing, there will likely be more laboratory-confirmed cases. The total number of tests performed on Sunday statewide was 4,187, and the percent positive was 3 percent. When the percent positive is low, it may indicate that more widespread testing is being performed and the percent positive may more accurately reflect how much disease is present in the community, officials said.