DHEC: County may have dozens more virus cases

COLUMBIA — Pickens County had 20 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus as of Monday afternoon, but the county could actually have nearly seven times that many cases undiagnosed, according to state officials.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 183 new cases of the virus across the state on Monday, including the two latest cases that bumped Pickens County up to 20, but a ZIP code breakdown showed nearly 160 possible cases in the county.

“These estimated counts represent those who are potentially undiagnosed,” DHEC said on its website. “By including estimates, we hope to better convey more meaningful information about the risk of disease spread in our community. We encourage everyone to continue to take action to protect themselves and those they love.”

The most confirmed cases in Pickens County have come in the Easley’s 29642 and 29640 ZIP codes, with seven and six, respectively. But according to DHEC’s estimated cases and total possible cases figures, there could be as many as 70 combined cases in those two ZIP codes. Of the county’s 14 ZIP codes, officials estimate there is only one with no cases of the virus — the Pendleton-area 29670, which touches only a small part of Pickens County.

“There are many people within our communities who have the virus and have never been tested,” DHEC said on its website. “Undocumented infections often experience mild, limited or no symptoms, which is why they go unrecognized; they can expose a far greater portion of the population to the virus.

“Regardless of the number of reported cases within an area, all South Carolinians should take seriously the recommended precautions for protecting against this disease.”

Statewide, 2,232 cases of the virus had been confirmed as of Monday afternoon, with 48 deaths of virus-related conditions. The vast majority of the deaths have come in elderly patients with underlying health conditions. No deaths have been reported in Pickens County.

DHEC’s COVID-19 page,, is updated daily with a map of positive cases, as well as the most current recommendations for protecting against COVID-19.

As of Sunday, DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory had conducted 7,950 tests for COVID-19. Of these tests, 923 were positive and 7,027 were negative. A total of 21,384 tests by both DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory and private labs have been conducted in the state.

Also as of Sunday, 5,944 hospital beds were available and 6,202 were utilized, which is a 51.1 percent statewide hospital bed utilization rate.