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DHEC: First coronavirus death in South Carolina reported

The person was someone who'd been at an extended nursing facility in Lexington.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina health officials are confirming the first coronavirus (COVID-19) related death in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced the news Monday morning.

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“We regret to report that South Carolina has suffered its first death in an elderly person recently reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 who was a resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Physician Consultant. “Our state health officials continue to work with national and local partners to respond to this ongoing public health matter.”

The patient was from Lexington County and resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility. DHEC is working with the facility to identify all contacts and is providing guidance about infection control measures to prevent spread.

"We are saddened by the news of the first death in South Carolina due to COVID-19," said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. "Our hearts and prayers are with the family and the community. South Carolinians must continue to support each other through prayer, through common sense, by taking precautions and by demonstrating courtesy and compassion."

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“We know that many South Carolinians are concerned about what impact this virus may have on themselves, their loved ones, and our state,” said Dr. Traxler. “This is a rapidly evolving public health event, and DHEC takes every new infectious disease seriously. This is an example of the importance of taking precautions to protect those at higher risk, like the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions.”

DHEC emphasizes the importance of practicing disease prevention measures and following recommendations for social distancing to protect the health and safety of all South Carolinians. This includes:

  • washing your hands frequently,
  • covering your cough,
  • staying home when you’re sick, and
  • appropriately disposing tissues and other items that you've sneezed or coughed into.

DHEC will alert the public on all COVID-19 related deaths. For the latest information about DHEC’s COVID-19 response efforts, please visit scdhec.gov/COVID-19.