Roper: ‘Let’s not rush back out recklessly’

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — During his daily Facebook Live update video Tuesday morning, acting Pickens County administrator Ken Roper discussed Gov. Henry McMaster’s latest executive order reopening some retail businesses across the state and beginning the process of ramping the state’s economy back up.

“We’ve all got our own opinion of how the governor’s doing this,” Roper said. “I’m going to prescribe myself the medicine that I’m always prescribing to others and I’m going to assume he’s got good advice and I’m going to trust the process.

“He said he’s going to open up some businesses today,” Roper continued. “He opened up the boat ramps last weekend. He’s saying he’s going to open the beaches.”

Authorities were placed in their positions by the voters, he said.

“We are now tasked with trusting them when it’s reasonable, what they’re saying, so I’m going to do that,” Roper said. “The county is going to react based on what the governor says.”

Pickens County remains in a state of emergency, he said.

Roper said the county did not have a report of new cases in Pickens County on Monday.

“That was very encouraging,” he said. “Our total is still at 38. Our active cases in the last 14 days is down to 16. We’re accumulating cases, but we’re not accumulating newer cases as fast as we’re losing off the older cases. So that’s an encouraging sign.”

COVID-19 has caused 124 deaths in South Carolina so far, Roper said Tuesday.

“Still none in Pickens County,” Roper said. “You want to keep those families and those communities in your thoughts and prayers.”

South Carolina has 4,439 positive cases, he said.

“Almost three quarters of a million — we’ll be at three quarters of a million this time tomorrow — cases in the United States, including almost 40,000 deaths in the United States from COVID-19, just in the last couple of months,” Roper said.

Some have compared the coronavirus to the seasonal flu, Roper said.

“And the numbers are now comparable, the number of deaths from COVID-19 are comparable to what we experience nationwide from seasonal flu,” he said. “But what you have to remember about that is the COVID-19 thing came on all of a sudden and there was a ramp up.

“The whole idea behind everything we’ve done is protect our capacity, in our hospitals and in our intensive care units,” Roper continued. “So while seasonal flu may roll through over the course of several months, this was a thing that was spiking quickly. So I appreciate our scientists and our medical professionals and our leaders for preparing us for it.”

Hopeful signs are out there, he said.

“We’re starting to talk about how we may re-enter normal life, but I would just ask everyone to still use reasonable care,” Roper said. “Be cautious. Let’s not rush back out recklessly. Let’s follow guidance from the governor, from the president, from the national health folks, from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Let’s follow their advice and reasonably reintroduce things and reasonably scale up what we do. It seems like, to me, that’s our obligation as citizens.”