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Coronavirus in South Carolina: real time updates

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — At News19 WLTX, our coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit www.wltx.com/coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about South Carolina specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 803-776-9508.

State and federal officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continually monitoring the spread of the virus. They are also working hand-in-hand with the World Health Organization to track the spread around the world and to stop it. DHEC, South Carolina's health agency, is leading the fight in our state.

We will continue to track the most important coronavirus elements relating to South Carolina on this page. Refresh often for new information.

Key facts:

Saturday, March 28

Prisma Health announces furlough during coronavirus crisis

According to the organization, they do not know how long the furlough will last, and it impacts administrative, corporate and clinical employees. 

RELATED: Prisma Health announces furlough during coronavirus crisis

DHEC now shows South Carolina coronavirus cases by zip code

In addition to showing South Carolina coronavirus cases by county and map, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is now showing the number of positive cases by zip code on its website

RELATED: DHEC now shows South Carolina coronavirus cases by zip code

S.C. Corrections officer tests positive for coronavirus

The officer worked in a special-population housing unit with 16 inmates.

RELATED: S.C. Corrections officer tests positive for coronavirus

President Trump approves major disaster declaration for South Carolina

Federal emergency aid has been made available to supplement local recovery efforts in areas affected by the coronavirus.

RELATED: President Trump approves major disaster declaration for South Carolina

Friday, March 27

DHEC: 86 new cases, 4 new deaths related to coronavirus

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced Friday four additional deaths related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. This brings the state’s total number of deaths to 13.

The patients, who were all elderly and had underlying health conditions, were from Richland, Kershaw, Greenville and Florence counties.

READ MORE: DHEC: 86 new cases, 4 new deaths related to coronavirus

SC Governor issues mandatory quarantine for visitors from virus 'hotspots'

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a mandatory quarantine for anyone coming into the state from a coronavirus hotspot, as the state announced four more deaths from the virus.

McMaster announced his plan at the state emergency operations center in West Columbia, where he was joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott.

READ MORE: SC Governor issues mandatory quarantine for visitors from virus 'hotspots'

SC U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham tests positive for the coronavirus

South Carolina U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first Congressman from the state to catch the illness.

Cunningham sent a statement out Friday. He'd already been in self-quarantine for eight days after coming into contact with someone who tested positive. 

READ MORE: SC Rep. Joe Cunningham tests positive for coronavirus

Gov. McMaster, Sen. Lindsey Graham & Tim Scott to speak at 4 PM

outh Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will give an update on the state's response to the ongoing coronavirus today at 4 p.m. and this time, he'll be joined by the state's two U.S. Senators. 

McMaster will make his remarks at the state emergency operations center in West Columbia. South Carolina U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott will be there too.

You can watch live on WLTX.com and over-the-air.

LIVE LINK: SC Governor to give coronavirus update alongside Sen. Graham, Scott

Local governments can't issue stay at home orders, AG says

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says local governments don't have the authority to issue their own stay-at-home orders.

Wilson issued a written opinion Friday in response to a question from Rep. Jeff Bradley of Beaufort, and comes after Columbia and Charleston passed orders. 

Columbia and Charleston have passed such orders.

READ MORE: Local governments don't have authority to issue stay-at-home orders, SC attorney general says

SC State Parks to close through April 

Beginning Saturday, March 28, all state parks in South Carolina will be closed through Thursday, April 30, to support the state’s response to COVID-19, the state agency said Friday. The closure is designed to keep visitors and employees as safe as possible by mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

RELATED: South Carolina State Parks closing through April

SC REAL ID deadline moved to 2021 due to coronavirus

The deadline to get a South Carolina REAL ID has been moved to October, 2021.

DHEC director takes leave during pandemic because of health concerns

In a letter, Rick Toomey says he will be going away for a few weeks because he needs to focus on his health. The change in leadership comes during the coronavirus pandemic. DHEC is one of the leading agencies in the response to the virus.  

RELATED: DHEC director takes leave during pandemic because of health concerns

Thursday, March 26

The Families of Highway Fatalities Annual Fatality Memorial Service has been postponed until further notice.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety says they will send out notification letters to families who lost their loved ones on South Carolina roadways in 2019.

The Families of Highway Fatalities Annual Fatality Memorial Service ... scheduled for April 25 has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SCDPS will be sending notification letters out to families of those lost on South Carolina roadways in 2019.

Columbia couple trapped in Peru, expected to be back home Friday 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Over a week ago, we told you about Becky and James Patrick from Columbia, who found themselves unable to get out of Peru after COVID-19 shut down the borders. RELATED: 'We had until midnight to get out': Columbia couple stranded in Peru during quarantine Like hundreds of other Americans, they were stuck overseas as the country was placed under quarantine.

Myrtle Beach says visitors must leave by Sunday 

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The City of Myrtle Beach City on Thursday ordered most visitors to leave by Sunday, March 28, in an effort to contain the threat of coronavirus. Additionally, all short-term accommodations have been ordered to not accept any new reservations beginning Saturday, March 28, and continuing through April 30, 2020.

Additionally, all short-term accommodations -hotel, motel, AirBnBs, have been ordered to not accept any new reservations beginning Saturday, March 28, and continuing through April 30, 2020.

SNAP recipients to recieve emergency supplements

These funds will be issued on the household EBT card. Additional supplements will be placed on the card on March 28. April benefits will arrive as normally scheduled with the emergencyMy allotment

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) received a waiver to provide emergency SNAP funds. DSS received a federal waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture to provide two months of emergency SNAP supplements to address temporary food needs for SNAP households, according to the organization.

Newly approved SNAP cases will receive the maximum allotment level for March and April.

WIC participants can receive  benefits without having to present

SCDHEC is not recommending that everyone who is ill get tested for virus

Columbia approves stay-at-home order for all residents

Council approved the measure Thursday afternoon on a remote meeting. The ordinance goes into effect this Sunday, March 29, at 12:01 a.m. It's set to expire in 14 days.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The City of Columbia has approved a stay-at-home/stay safe order for all residents in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. MORE: Full Coronavirus Coverage & Updates Council approved the measure Thursday afternoon on a remote meeting. The ordinance goes into effect this Sunday, March 29, at 12:01 a.m.

Are you a health care worker?  We see free Crocs in your future

The company said it was giving away 10,000 pairs of Crocs a day

Crocs has announced plans to donate thousands of pairs of shoes to healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it will be giving away up to 10,000 pairs of Crocs each day to those working in the healthcare industry.

Starting at noon each day, go to the Croc's website and sign up. 

Richland County Offices closed 

Columbia closing park facilities until further notice

The South Carolina Hospital Association is working to identify resources for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients, including equipment and personnel.

The organization has launched a new page to recruit retired or out-of-work healthcare workers willing to support South Carolina hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Columbia closing park facilities until further notice

Kershaw County cancels spring sports 

Kershaw County has decided to cancel the 2020 spring sports season due to COVID-19. This includes all baseball, softball, and PAL leagues. All spring sports participants will receive a refund by the end of April.

31,000 file for unemployment in South Carolina in one week amid coronavirus-related layoffs

The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SC DEW) released the number of unemployment claims for the week ending March 21, and they show the severe impact of the coronavirus on jobs statewide.

The advance figures for South Carolina intrastate initial claims was 31,054, an increase of approximately 1600% from the previous week’s count of 1,996. This means that there were 31,054 individuals who both live and work in the state of South Carolina who filed an initial claim during that week.

RELATED: 31,000 file for unemployment in South Carolina in one week amid coronavirus-related layoffs

Wednesday, March 25

City of Columbia joins Richland County in modifying trash pickup

While City's schedule remains normal, there are some restrictions on what will be collected

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. - Richland County Government announced Wednesday, March 25, 2020, that it will begin modifying curbside trash collection in unincorporated areas of the county during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. Collection of household garbage and recycling will be the Richland County's focus.

Jack West, lobbyist and son of late S.C. governor John West, dies after contracting coronavirus

Jack West, a longtime political lobbyist from Camden and son of former South Carolina Governor John West, died Wednesday after contracting COVID-19, several sources confirm to News 19.

The 71-year-old West, who is the son of former Governor John West, had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks with the virus.

RELATED: Jack West, lobbyist and son of late S.C. governor John West, dies after contracting coronavirus

Newberry updates school meal program

Truckers have a message for everyone worried about the virus 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Truck drivers in the Midlands are feeling the impacts of the coronavirus after workloads have increased drastically for shipments and deliveries for stores. Kenji Long, the Operations Manager at Howell's Motor Freight, Inc. in Columbia, says they've been busy since the coronavirus pandemic started.

Trucker say people can help out the truck industry by being more mindful of how much they buy and how much they actually need.

Teachers who miss their students get creative to see them 

LEXINGTON, S.C. - Many South Carolina teachers and students haven't seen each other for weeks now due to the coronavirus and the Governor McMaster's order to close schools until the end of April. RELATED: Parents and students react to schools remaining closed until April 30th Teachers at Congaree Elementary School were really missing their students So, they came up with a plan.

“We needed this,” Congaree Elementary school Principal Chris Dickey said. “I think this parade was a way to keep us all connected. It shows that even though we’re not in the building, we’re still together.

Prisma Health device to help extend ventilators

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Prisma Health has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a unique ventilator expansion device designed by Prisma Health physicians. The new device allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients during times of acute equipment shortages such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The new device allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients during times of acute equipment shortages such as the current COVID-19 pandemic

Odd Bird books opened just a few months ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Local Columbia bookstore Odd Bird Books opened in early February not knowing that an international health crisis was on its way. While local businesses everywhere are nervous about what may happen, owner Ben Adams is staying optimistic.

Since the spread of COVID-19, owner Ben  Adams has been toying with his business model and is currently offering curbside service and free delivery.

Columbia to consider stay-at-home order for all residents

Columbia City Council will consider a stay-at-home order for all residents when it meets Thursday.

The measure would be similar to one passed by Charleston on Tuesday. That would ban non-essential travel in the city and close non-essential businesses.

Council will take up the measure at a teleconference meeting they're having. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Columbia City Council is expected to consider a stay-at-home order to stop the spread of the coronavirus order when they meet Thursday. The items is on the agenda for a teleconference meeting of the panel.

University of South Carolina announces tentative date for graduation 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Due to the coronavirus pandamic, the Univesity of South Carolina made the decision to cancel May graduations for safety. RELATED: USC to complete semester online, postpones graduation The university has now set tentative graduation dates of August 7 and August 8, according to Jeff Stensland, chief communications officer for USC.

The university has now set tentative graduation dates of August 7 and August 8, according to Jeff Stensland, chief communications officer for USC. "But obviously, that’s subject to change depending on whether it’s safe to hold large gatherings by then," Stensland said.

Food Share South Carolina 

FoodShare South Carolina is an organization that helps the community get access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One local non-profit is helping workers impacted by the coronavirus with a new project by providing the community with delivery food boxes. FoodShare South Carolina is an organization that helps the community get access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The nonprofit is housed by the Palmetto Health USC Medical Group.

To find out how you can order, how to become a neighborhood captain or other ways you can help, head to FoodShare South Carolina's website. To order a box, click here.

DHEC: 424 coronavirus cases statewide, projects 8,000 cases by May

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said it is now investigating 82 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 424 cases in 39 counties.

And for they first time, they project into the future, saying there could be 8,000 cases by May.

RELATED: DHEC: 424 coronavirus cases statewide, projects 8,000 cases by May

Transitions Columbia helping the homeless during the virus

At Transitions in Columbia, CEO Craig Currey says the organization has been able to maintain most of the programs and services needed by the men and women that Transitions serves either as residents or non-resident day users

COLUMBIA, S.C. - At work or at home, there are guidelines that you should follow in order to try and stay healthy during the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Currey said the organization still serves between 500 to 600 meals a day -- that's breakfast, lunch and dinner to clients. Non clients, or day users, are welcomed by Transitions to come in and use the bathrooms, take a shower or eat lunch.

Rosewood Dairy Bar closes due to COVID-19

A post on their Facebook page announed the closure due to the coronavirus.  No word yet on when they hope to open. 

 "As of today, the Rosewood Dairy Bar will be temporarily closed. We hope all of our customer’s stay safe! Thank you, Cheryl Austin"

Rosewood Dairy Bar, Columbia, SC. 1,312 likes · 28 talking about this · 1,958 were here. Burgers & Chicken

Ft. Jackson confirms 2 more cases, total now at 4 

Fort Jackson says it has confirmed two more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total now to four. 

The latest cases were found as a result of contact tracing. Both are in isolation and receiving necessary medical care 

READ MORE: Ft. Jackson confirms 2 more cases of coronavirus, brings total to 4

Gov. McMaster requests out of state visitors to self quarantine

In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Henry McMaster is requesting out of state visitors planning to stay in SC two or more nights to self quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is asking nearly all out of state visitors to self-quarantine once for two weeks once they reach the state to stop the spread of the The governor made the announcement on social media Wednesday afternoon.

Long's Drugs shuts down, CVS takes over

This isn't directly tied to the coronavirus, but as people look to essential services such as pharmacies, this is important to pass along.

Long's Drugs has shut down nearly all Midlands locations. The company explained that customers prescriptions will now be handled by CVS.

READ MORE: Long's Drugs pharmacy closes locations, transfers customers to CVS

Riverbanks Zoo closed through April 

The zoo said in a statement it is following guidelines from state and federal leaders to encourage social distancing and help slow the spread of coronavirus in the community.

RELATED: Riverbanks Zoo to remain closed through the end of April

Richland County modifies trash collection pickup in unincorporated areas of the County and closes the county landfill and drop-off sites.

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. - Richland County Government announced Wednesday, March 25, 2020, that it will begin modifying curbside trash collection in unincorporated areas of the county during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis. Collection of household garbage and recycling will be the Richland County's focus.

South Carolina state income taxes get an extension 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina state taxes are now due on July 15, 2020. RELATED: Income tax filing deadline moved from April 15 to July 15 The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) says that, " In response to the challenges of COVID-19 and in accordance with Executive Order 2020-12 , the South Carolina Department of Revenue is moving the due date for Income Tax returns and payments originally due April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020."


Tuesday, March 24

Batesburg-Leesville Police officers read books to kids on Facebook

Since school has been out because of the coronavirus, officers are staying connected with kids by reading to them through their department's Facebook page.

Sumter doctor sacrificing health, time with family to test others for virus

Doctor Clay Lowder, the founder of Colonial Healthcare, says this virus has completely changed the way he and his staff operate.

SUMTER, S.C. - Medical professionals across the United States are on the front lines, working to heal those impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreading across the country. Doctor Clay Lowder, the founder of Colonial Healthcare, says this virus has completely changed the way he and his staff operate.

"It's pretty serious to ask your people that you have worked with for 25 years to go on the front lines and swab somebody for a dangerous disease. You really find out what people are made of," Lowder said

One man helps neighbors stay clean AND safe, a happy virus story 

Mark Cox put the hand sanitizer into the mailboxes of those neighbors who didn't have the same luck finding it. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Last Friday, a Columbia man helped out his fellow neighbors. For many it has been difficult getting certain products at the stores and online. This neighbor found extra hand sanitizer and distributed to people in his community. "I had more than I needed and was happy to give it to other people," Mark Cox said.

"We actually show are most gracious self's and our best part of humanity when things actually make us step up and realize things are more important, and hopefully somebody will look at what I've done and and take that and be kind to each other, and help each other get through as much as possible," Cox said.

Richland One changes food distribution

Grill Marks-Columbia to close because of COVID-19

From their Facebook page, "Thank you for all your support Cola! We love you all! We are unfortunately closing our doors until this all blows over. We can’t wait to serve you the best burger in town again. See you all soon! "

Drove an hour one way to check this place out and let's just say I'll be making many more trips back... here. The food and shakes are over the top ridiculously good and the overall vibe here is great. The manager, Hughes, was very nice and and appeared to be an ace at this position.

No word on when they will re-open. 

Di Prato's Delicatessen to close due to virus according to Facebook post 

From their Facebook Post:  

"To our Di Prato's patrons,

We have made the very difficult decision to close our doors for now, effective immediately. Ultimately the safety of our employees and community is the most important to us during this time, and we feel that the best decision for all of us is to close our doors to get through this.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We look forward to brighter days – when we can open our doors back up and welcome you in for your favorite sandwich, salad or pimento cheese. We cannot wait for the day that our dining room is filled with all of your smiling faces again."

City of Charleston orders shelter at home for 14 days 

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston City Council voted to issue a "stay at home" order for the City of Charleston effective Thursday. Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg introduced the proposed measure on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, saying "Modeling at both Columbia University and here locally shows that Charleston is facing thousands of deaths -- most of them unnecessary -- if we don't stop the spread of this virus and prevent our local hospital system from being overwhelmed right now."

Charleston City Council voted to issue a “stay at home” order for the City of Charleston effective Thursday.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg introduced the proposed measure on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, saying “Modeling at both Columbia University and here locally shows that Charleston is facing thousands of deaths -- most of them unnecessary -- if we don't stop the spread of this virus and prevent our local hospital system from being overwhelmed right now.”

Drive-In theater the 'Big Mo' to close indefinitely due to virus

 The 'Big Mo' Drive In theater in Monetta, SC is closing for safety due to the coronavirus

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 'Big Mo' Drive In theater is closing for safety due to the coronavirus. The much beloved classic entertainment venue said in their Facebook post, "After considering the Governor's March 23, 2020 order and consulting with the Sheriff of Aiken County, we have concluded that we should close the drive-in for health and safety reasons.

The classic entertainment venue was hoping to stay open but after the governors order and speaking with local lawenforcement they felt this was the right decision for the safety of the community. 

2 more coronavirus deaths in South Carolina, total stands at 7 

Two more people have died from the coronavirus in South Carolina, bringing the total number of dead in the state to seven.

South Carolina's state health agency, DHEC, announced the news Tuesday night.

One patient was an elderly person from Florence County who had underlying health conditions. The second patient was an elderly person from Horry County with no underlying health conditions. 

RELATED: DHEC: 7 confirmed dead from coronavirus in South Carolina

VIllage Idiot restaurant to close Five Points location due to virus

The other two locations will remain open and workers from the Five Points store will be able to work at the other stores. 

DHEC: 342 cases of coronavirus in SC, 44 new cases

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating 44 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 342 cases in 36 counties.  That includes new cases in the following Midlands counties:

  • Aiken County: 1 case
  • Clarendon County: 1 case
  • Kershaw County: 4 cases
  • Richland County: 4 cases
  • Sumter County: 4 cases

RELATED: DHEC: 342 cases of coronavirus in SC, 44 new cases

Charleston Spoleto Festival 2020 cancels

First time in the festivals 43-year history it is canceling

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Spoleto Festival, a favorite in Charleston for the last 43 years is canceling this years two-week festival. This is the first cancellation in the festival's history. RELATED: Officials close state parks to make COVID-19 plans RELATED: All South Carolina schools to remain closed through April "2020 promised to be an exceptional year for Spoleto Festival USA," said General Director Nigel Redden.

City of Columbia to waive online payment processing fees 

The processing charge for online payments to the City of Columbia will be waived for water, sewer, commercial  solid waste and parking garage rental fees until further notice.

Payments will be accepted online at https://www.columbiasc.net/payment-center/online and through the mail to P.O. Box 147; Columbia, SC 29217. Also, customers can drop off payments at the drop box at Washington Square, 1136 Washington Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

South Carolina state parks to close Wednesday, Thursday 

The parks will open back on Friday after officials decide on coronavirus plans for the parks.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - All state parks in South Carolina are closing Wednesday and Thursday as officials figure out and implement new policies to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Officials say the 47 parks should reopen Friday, but with new rules to assure social distancing to combat COVID-19 in shelters, trails and fee booths.

Gov. McMaster and Education Superintendent Spearman: ALL South Carolina schools closed through April 

The pair released the following joint statement announcing that South Carolina’s schools will remain closed for the duration of the month of April

COLUMBIA, S.C. - All of South Carolina's public schools will be shut down through the end of April, Governor Henry McMaster and South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said Tuesday.

“At this time, students, parents, and families should plan for South Carolina’s schools to remain closed through the month of April, " says Gov. McMaster.

Local farmers changing the way they operate due to coronavirus

Local farmers in the Midlands are changing the way they operate because of the coronavirus so they can serve the community in a different way.

One farmer has been running a home delivery service so he can still run his business and serve the community.

RELATED: Local farmers changing the way they operate due to coronavirus

Mom shares video of kids on butter-coated floors during homeschooling

We have to have a few moment of humanity, right? Something a little lighter? So take a look at this.

Because of the coronavirus, more parents are schooling their kids at home. One Midlands mom had a funny video she wanted to share.  

We got a video from Laura Jean Shugert and shows her two kids making a mess on the floor. The mess that the girls are sitting in is butter. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Because of the coronavirus, more parents are schooling their kids at home. One Midlands mom had a funny video she wanted to share. One mom shared a video with WLTX, and wrote "This is how homeschooling is going at our house. 🤣🤣🤣 I thought it was too funny not to share."

Spectrum map of free WiFi hot spots

Spectrum has a map of free wifi spots, check it out if you're in need: https://www.spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots.html

Columbia Place shopping mall closes due to coronavirus pandemic

The mall at 7201 Two Notch home to Macy's

COLUMBIA, S.C. - It looks like Columbia Place Mall has closed all of their stores until the end of the month. A look at their website shows all stores are closed until March 27 due to the coronavirus. The shopping center at 7201 Two Notch road has fewer stores than it had in the last few years.

Hammond School junior writes song to bring smiles to everyone dealing with the COVID-19 situation

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One Midlands teen is hoping to put a smile on someone's face after writing a song about the coronavirus. Blake Weinbach is a junior at Hammond School. Since the coronavirus outbreak started, he's been at home looking for things to do when he's not doing online school.

Companies in South Carolina are hiring during pandemic

If you were laid off or are seeking a job, some national companies are hiring now. Amazon may bring up to 500 jobs to South Carolina, and Kroger is hiring within the state, North Carolina and Georgia.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The spread of the coronavirus across the United States has left a lot of unknowns for businesses. Many have had to layoff employees during the pandemic. However, there are companies who are hiring during this time. Amazon announced that they were hiring 100,000 people around the nation.

Monday, March 23

Free or discounted internet access for students

All of South Carolina's hundreds of thousands of students are learning at home through at least the end of March.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - UPDATE: AT&T will offer two months of free service to new access customers who order by April 30, 2020. It will then be five dollars a month or 10 dollars a month after the two months, depending on speed.

The Department of Education and individual school districts are planning to provide locations for wifi-enabled buses when they begin operations.

How about something fun to do in your yard? 

With folks going a bit stir crazy being inside, our meterologist Alex Calimia has some great ideas for digging in the yard.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - It's the first full week of spring, and for those of us looking to keep our minds off the world news (or keep kids busy during their extra time away from school), planting seeds is the perfect activity. Early spring is the right time to plant a variety of seeds in the South Carolina Midlands.

If you don't have the ability to purchase seeds from a store in person or online, there are seeds from produce in the kitchen you can try in the ground

Shaw Air Force Base reports first case of coronavirus 

A dependent of an active duty U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) off-base, according to officials. 

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - Shaw Air Force Base on Monday confirmed its first case of coronavirus. A dependent of an active duty U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) off-base, according to officials.

The individual and spouse are in isolation at their off-base residence. Public health officials have begun the contact tracing process to notify those who may have come in contact with the positive individual.

Teachers around the state are having parades for their students

Staff at the Croswell Drive Elementary school held a makeshift parade to see their students by driving through their neighborhoods, honking and holding up signs of encouragement to uplift them while schools are closed due to the virus. 

SUMTER, S.C. - Students at Crosswell Drive Elementary School got a special treat from their teachers on Monday. Staff at the school held a makeshift parade to see the kids by driving through their neighborhoods, honking and holding up signs of encouragement to uplift them while schools are closed due to the coronavirus.

Crime down in Richland County this weekend attributed to virus

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said it was a relatively slow weekend for crime this past weekend, as his officers continue to make sure the streets are safe during the coronavirus crisis. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said it was a relatively slow weekend for crime this past weekend, as his officers continue to make sure the streets are safe during the coronavirus crisis. Lott spoke Monday about what his agency has done since the crisis began.

Local distillary moves from liquor to hand sanitizer

And the decision wasn't even a hard one to make. The hand sanitizer has been made for first responders in both Cayce and Richland county. 

CAYCE, S.C. - One Cayce distillery is making hand sanitizer to help support local first responders during the coronavirus pandemic. John and Venetia Sharpe own Southern Essence Distilling in Cayce off of Frink Street. It's located near the heart of the Cayce Art District and the southern end of State Street.

South Carolina Honda plant shut down for a week due to virus 

Employees will be paid during the shutdown of the plant in TImmonsville, SC.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Honda plant in Timmonsville that made all-terrain vehicles has decided to close for a week due to the virus. In an email Honda of South Carolina Mfg (HSC) announced that it will adjust production of all-terrain and side-by-side vehicles at its plant in Timmonsville, South Carolina due to an anticipated decline in market demand related to the economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic.

SC Governor to allow groups of 3 to be broken up by police due to virus

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is giving law enforcement the ability to break up crowds of three or more people as the state tries to stop the spread of the coronavirus as cases continue to spike.

McMaster said he's issued an executive order giving law enforcement the ability to disperse groups of three or more. This DOES NOT apply to families, law-abiding businesses, or grocery stores. It's more targeting a people holding parties at beaches or being unruly in crowds. 

He's leaving it to the discretion of law enforcement. "It's difficult to know the line but we know it when we see it,' he added. 

RELATED: SC Governor to allow groups of three to be broken up by police due to virus

Sumter National Forest closing campgrounds, restrooms

The Sumter National Forest will close campgrounds and all restrooms immediately.

Two cases of COVID-19 at Fort Jackson 

One is a soldier in training with 3rd battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, and the other is an officer attending the Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Fort Jackson has confirmed two positive cases of the coronavirus on the base. One is a soldier in training with 3rd battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, and the other is an officer attending the Adjutant General Basic Officer Leader Course. Both service members are in isolation and receiving necessary medical care.

Both service members are in isolation and receiving necessary medical care. They will not return to duty until medically cleared.

Update from DHEC

Operational Condition Two 

The Lexington County Emergency Operations Center is moving from Operational Condition Three to Operational Condition Two, as County officials continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our community and state. 

Credit: Lexington County
The Lexington County Emergency Operations Center is moving from Operational Condition Three to Operational Condition Two, as County officials continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 on our community and state.

Additionally, all County buildings remain closed to the general public until further notice 

No COVID-19 cure yet 

Lowes Food stores to offer senior hours 

 Lowes Foods is dedicating 7 to 8 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday as shopping hours for seniors and others who are vulnerable to the virus.  

Those who are not at risk are being asked to shop at Lowes Foods after 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays or other days of the week.  The special shopping hours are in place until further notice. 

Two more deaths in South Carolina from the coronavirus

One patient was an elderly person from Clarendon County, who had underlying health conditions. The second patient was an elderly person from Kershaw County who also had underlying health conditions

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says two more people have died from the coronavirus in the state, bringing the state's total number of deaths to five. "We unfortunately have to announce that our state has suffered two more losses related to COVID-19," said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist.

 "This disease is here, it’s in our communities, and we all have a part to play in helping to stop the spread of it.” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist.  

Gov. McMaster to hold briefing 

Governor Henry McMaster will be joined by state public health officials for a media briefing to update the public on the state's response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus today, Monday, March 23 at 4:00 PM.

McMaster last spoke in person on the issue last Thursday. It's unclear yet what he'll have to say, but we will stream that information online here. 

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