COLUMBIA, S.C. — According to DHEC, South Carolina's percent positive rate for COVID-19 cases is 15.5%.
The new data shows that out of the total 8,520 people that were tested on Sunday, 1,320 of them tested positive for the virus.
In a recent teleconference, South Carolina’s epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, explained why DHEC tracks percent positive trends.
“We want to make sure that people understand that doing testing doesn’t create new cases. So that when we test, we’re finding cases that are already out there. And the way that we assess whether or not the testing is simply identifying more people, is we look at the percent positive of all the tests that were performed.”
Dr. Brent Powers, Chief Medical Officer at Lexington Medical Center says that their positivity rate has doubled. “As physicians order COVID testing based on symptoms, we historically have had a positivity rate anywhere around 10-12% and here recently it’s close to 22-24%.”
This graph by DHEC shows South Carolina’s percent positive trends from May 31 to June 27. On June 1, 8.7% of people that were tested for COVID-19 came back positive. On June 27, 20.1% of people tested were positive.
“When the percent positive of the total tests that we perform goes up as it has been over the past two weeks or more, then that tells us that’s a sicker population. We’re testing more widely but we’re actually finding more people in the population that are sick,” Dr. Bell said.
The percent positive trend of COVID-19 cases has increased in the past 28 days with dips and spikes along the way.
Dr. Powers says, “we believe there’s more COVID activity in the community. It’s hard to know, is it a bias because more testing is available? But we’re also seeing more patients present for COVID like symptoms.”
Dr. Bell agrees, “with the total number of cases going up, and the percent positive going up, that’s a strong indication that we need more prevention and control measures in our communities.”
For a closer look into DHEC’s coronavirus data, click here.