By Caitlin Herrington and Riley Morningstar

The Journal

COLUMBIA — South Carolina has reported its first death from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Margaret Dickert, 79, waits on her husband Saturday at a Food Lion grocery store in Piedmont. Dickert said that she has pulmonary hypertension and — under her doctor’s orders and her own common sense — is taking all the precautions she can. “I don’t know how long these limitations will last, but I will do all possible to protect me, my family and others,” Dickert said. (Associated Press)

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

“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,” DHEC physician consultant Dr. Brannon Traxler said. “Our state health officials continue to work with national and local partners to respond to this ongoing public health matter.

“We know that many South Carolinians are concerned about what impact this virus may have on themselves, their loved ones and our state,” Traxler added. “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.”

Five new cases

reported

On Monday afternoon, DHEC announced five additional cases of the virus, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 33.

Four of the cases come from Kershaw County, and one is in Lexington County. The Lexington case is an elderly person who was a close contact to a previously reported case, according to DHEC. That person is in isolation at a health care facility.

Three of the new cases in Kershaw County are “middle-aged individuals who are known contacts to a previously reported case and are isolated at home,” DHEC said.

The fourth case is an elderly person, with limited information available at press time.

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