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The latest South Carolina Public Radio News reports on the spread of the coronavirus and efforts to fight it.

“Our Goal is to think Ahead.” McMaster Orders Extended Tax Deadline, Use of National Guard

Governor Henry McMaster and state public health officials update the public on the state's response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Tuesday.

Tuesday, Governor Henry McMaster announced a series of mandatory executive orders and also a series of requests to help the combat the coronavirus in South Carolina, including extending the tax deadline for all state taxes (to file and pay) to June 1.

“The idea behind this is to allow these businesses to maintain their cash flow, during this crisis, in order that they may be able to pay their employees.”

The Governor also instructed all restaurants and bars to close their dine-in service starting Wednesday morning, March 19. He acknowledged the decision will cause problems for businesses, but said the decision was made in concert with a number of people, including officials with the South Carolina Restaurant Association.

“The enemy, this virus is bigger than any sort of irritation or inconvenience that any of us could have.

this virus is bigger than any sort of irritation or inconvenience that any of us could have

We are asking people to stick together and understand that we are in a crisis.”

Organized events with 50 people or more at any state, county, city of publically-owned facility is also prohibited.

McMaster also called for the National Guard to begin coordinating and planning with hospitals for mobile facilities, to build infrastructure and acquire resources. 

“Our goal is to think ahead and to stop this virus,” he added DHEC will “waive regulations so hospitals can use medical and nursing school students to help in their operations.”

When it comes to requests (not mandatory), the Governor is asking all medical and surgical centers to stop all elective procedures within the next 72 hours.

“That will allow for medicines, equipment, space, masks, and personnel to be used by the hospitals to treat people who come in with this virus.”

McMaster is asking insurance companies to pay the full cost associated with a coronavirus doctor office visit and for insurance companies to incentivize doctors to treat patients with non-COVID-19 issues by telehealth.

We also learned the Department of Education has sent instructional packets to students. Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said the state’s e-learning process is working well and that their process to to continue to provide meals to students is also working well.

“We have approved over 600 feeding sites across South Carolina, using a thousands, plus buses to deliver meals to those students who could not come or drive by.”

The Department also partners with South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) to provide instructional programming to students available during school. Spearman announced, SCETV will adjust its on-air programming to continue to reach students. The Department has also requested a waiver from Federally mandated testing.

DHEC is investigating 14 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 47 cases in 13 counties. DHEC’s new COVID-19 county map provides the number of cases by county and is updated daily.

County location of new cases

  • 1 new case from Beaufort County
  • 2 new cases from Charleston County
  • 1 new case from Calhoun County
  • 5 new cases from Kershaw County
  • 1 new case from Lexington County
  • 1 new case from Richland County
  • 1 new case from York County
  • 1 new case from Greenville County
  • 1 new case from Horry County