Lancaster

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

In the beginning, when everyone got sent home to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, Pickens County didn’t have much to worry about. Its COVID numbers were low, almost nonexistent, even as the sheer volume of cases and deaths ramped up everywhere else.

“The pandemic came to the United States in March [2020], but it didn’t come to Pickens County until a lot later,” says Kandy Kelley, coroner for Pickens County. “We really didn’t see any [deaths from COVID] until just a few months ago. And then, boom!”

Boom.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Right now, around the country, communities are asking hard questions about the role of police – does policing need an overhaul? How can officers better serve communities? And how can departments ratchet down tensions that can lead to aggression by and against police officers?

Well before the flashpoint that was the George Floyd incident, scholars and social reformers were posing an answer to questions like these: female officers.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The Medical University of South Carolina’s hospitals in Lancaster and Chester are mostly back to being fully staffed. A little more than a month ago, around 75 of MUSC Health’s 900 layoffs happened at these two Upstate locations, but Scott Broome, the CEO for the Lancaster and Chester locations, said he expects a fully returned staff by July 1.

It’s a far cry from where the hospitals were just weeks ago.

Volunteers at Golden Corner Food Pantry in Oconee County prepare bundles of food for drive-through clients. It's one of the many adjustments the pantry, and others in the Upstate and Pee Dee, have had to make because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Food pantries in the Upstate and Pee Dee have had to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic on the fly, like everyone else. They’ve seen need for food increase with spikes in South Carolinians out of work, as much as they've seen demands on their time, energy, resources, and budgets soar.

But they’re also learning a lot about themselves, about the people who visit, and about the ones who help them with their missions. Here are three pantries and what they’re facing in the pandemic.