‘Dangerous, deadly disease’: McMaster pleads for people to wear masks; S.C. deemed COVID-19 hotspot

‘Dangerous, deadly disease’: McMaster pleads for people to wear masks; S.C. deemed COVID-19 hotspot

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF/WIS) – South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced during a Friday briefing that no additional restrictions will be lifted as positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

According to McMaster, that means there are currently no plans to lift restrictions on nightclubs, concert venues, theaters, spectator sports, and other venues that draw large crowds until the infection rate drops.

“For goodness sake, wear your mask, keep that distance,” McMaster said. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got to follow the rules.”

The governor said he will not mandate that residents wear face masks when out in public, although some cities have enacted such ordinances.

“Enforcement is the problem and enforcement is the challenge,” McMaster said.

The governor also said he has directed the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop a plan for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to resume limited visitation for family members only.

DHEC officials said it would be a phased approach and that details about outdoor visitations are expected to be released next week.

The briefing came as the state’s positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

As of June 26, S.C. reported 30,263 positive cases since the start of the pandemic and 694 deaths.

Dr. Joan Duwve said South Carolina is now a hot spot in the United States. Several governors of other states have announced that visitors to their states from South Carolina must quarantine for 14 days.

Most of the spike is coming from young adults, she said. They are considering anyone under the age of 35 a young adult in this case, as that is the age group seeing the highest spike in cases right now.

Duwve said group gatherings and trips are infecting young people at an alarming rate, which is then putting the rest of the community as risk.

Young people who do not wear masks or social distance are spreading the virus to others and contributing to the spike in cases, Duwve said.

She urged anyone who has visited a beach recently to get tested for COVID-19.

With the July 4 holiday approaching, McMaster said he will not close the state’s beaches again. However, he noted that local officials have the authority to do so if they choose.

He also reiterated he would not close any businesses, restaurants and bars included, to try to stop the spread.

Throughout the briefing, the governor pleaded with residents to do their part to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“This is a dangerous, deadly disease. You’ve got to follow the rules, wear your mask, keep that distance from people, wash your hands,” McMaster said.

Watch the governor’s news conference below:

HAPPENING NOW: Gov. Henry McMaster is joined with state health officials are holding a news conference as coronavirus cases continue to rise in South Carolina. https://bit.ly/2ZbdZrj

Posted by WMBF News on Friday, June 26, 2020

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