DHEC stresses masks are working as agency releases new data on mask ordinances

CDC recommends masks in public settings

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released updated data on Friday on the effectiveness of mask ordinances in the fight against the coronavirus.

Currently, about 2.1 million South Carolinians live in jurisdictions that have mask mandates in place. There are several places in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee that have ordinances that require people to wear masks inside certain places, such as retail stores and restaurants.

DHEC leaders said that data shows communities with mask mandates in place continue to see a slower rate of coronavirus spread compared to communities without mask requirements.

The agency states that areas with a mask ordinance that took effect from June 23 – June 29 saw a 66.5% greater decrease in cases one month after their ordinance began than those without an ordinance.

Those in the second week from June 30 – July 6 experienced a 39.2% greater decrease.

In week three, which is July 7 – July 13, DHEC reported a 6.1% greater decrease.

Those that initiated a mask ordinance between July 14 – July 20 saw a 3.5% decrease.

And in week five, which is July 21 – July  27, the data shows no greater percent decreases in cases compared to those without a mask ordinance.

WMBF News asked DHEC leaders about the dip in percentages from week one through week five.

“Rather than getting into the specifics in the numbers, I think the important message is just that the data continues to show that the locations that have mask ordinances in place where more people are wearing masks more routinely, they are seeing less evidence of spread of the disease. They are seeing less spread occurring that we’re picking up on in testing than in locations without ordinances,” said Acting Director of DHEC, Brannon Traxler.

DHEC announced on Friday that there were 766 new confirmed cases and an addition 21 deaths related to COVID-19 in South Carolina.

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