South Carolina

David Martin / Unsplash

Update: The South Carolina Supreme Court announced it would extend the state eviction moratorium after this story published. It will extend the stay on evictions and foreclosures for another two weeks.

South Carolina’s state moratorium on evictions for unpaid rent is set to expire on Friday. While the federal moratorium continues until at least Aug.24, the expiration of the statewide stay on evictions could translate into thousands of lawsuits, says Adam Protheroe, a housing attorney at SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center in Columbia.

CDC

The exact numbers keep changing, but the percentages have remained relatively steady. And they show that African-Americans are South Carolina’s most disproportionately affected group when it comes to COVID-19 cases and deaths.

But they also show that men and women overall are disproportionally affected (though less so than African-Americans), in two different ways.

SCDC Photo

So far, South Carolina’s correctional system has managed to duck the high infection rates plaguing prisons in states like Ohio and Mississippi. According to Bryan Stirling, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, 35 of the department's nearly 5,000 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. Three of those work at Kirkland Correctional Institution, where a 69-year-old inmate with pre-existing health conditions, has tested positive. As of this report, the inmate is in the hospital and is the sole positive among the inmate population in the state.

SCDC also has had one death – a guard at Lee Correctional. His family has requested that he not be further identified, but Stirling confirmed that the guard did die from COVID-19.

Sven Scheuermeier / Unsplash

Word that a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota, where 5 percent of the nation's pork is processed, sent ripples across the U.S. food industry. It didn't help that just a few days later, another Smithfield plant – this one much closer to home, in Tar Heel, North Carolina – shuttered after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The closures prompted a far-reaching question: How secure is the food supply? 

provided by Steffi Kong

Steffi Kong grew up in Singapore. At the onset of the century, the country was in the path of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, a coronavirus similar to COVID-19. Kong contracted SARS, and beat it, but "because of that, my immune system was very compromised," she says.

Three years later, she caught H1N1, which was the swine flu that proved much deadlier and much more far-reaching. 

So to say that Kong was looking forward to seeing her family and walking in Converse College's commencement ceremony next month is an undestatement. But now that the Spartanburg-based college has shifted graduation to a virtual ceremony, Kong and her classmates -- the second-to-last class to ever graduate from an all-female Converse College -- will have to attend online in May.

Town of Clemson

At 19, Sudarshan Sridharan is no stranger to the business world. The Fort Mill native served as the director of the Youth Project before he turned 18, overseeing projects by young people to combat homelessness in the Southeast.

He then cofounded a cryptocurrency and blockchain consulting firm before moving on to his current for-profit business, Second Reality Interactive, which powers digital watch parties for eSports events.

The Clemson University student runs another company as well: a not-for-profit online business that just launched less than a month ago as a way to help Clemson’s downtown restaurants survive the weight of a quarantine that has left the usually bustling city quiet.

You're Not Under House Arrest, South Carolina

Apr 9, 2020
South Carolina Public Radio

Some South Carolinians, it seems, are not entirely sure what Gov. Henry McMaster's "work-or-home" order fully means. It essentially means you should stay at home unless you really need to not be there.

But it doesn't mean you're confined to stay inside the house behind locked doors. It also doesn't mean that we're living in a police state.

The Coronavirus and Cancer

Apr 9, 2020
Pixabay

Chemotherapy is a lot like a wildfire. It takes out everything in its way, including what’s beneficial. So, immune systems drop and lay a person’s entire self bare. It’s why the CDC recommends flu shots for chemotherapy patients every six months, as well as supplemental pneumococcal shots.

But that’s for influenza, which has vaccines ready and waiting for it every winter. COVID-19, of course, has no such thing, at least not yet. And it too is a bit like a wildfire in that it does not discriminate over who or what it touches.

Pixabay

News from hospitals in much of the United States right now is bad. In major cities like Detroit, in population-dense states like New Jersey, medical staffs are sometimes unable to keep up with the crush of new COVID-19 cases.

Emergencies are gobbling up hospital beds; doctors nurses, and assistants are risking their lives just by going to work; and supplies of personal protective equipment, or PPE, are in some places so bereft, ICU healthcare workers have taken to wearing trash bags and goggles because it was the best they could do.

To date, that kind of thing isn’t consuming South Carolina’s medical facilities. But Dr. Alicia Ribar, interim associate dean of academics, assistant dean for graduate studies, and clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, says the college’s working students are worried about when it will be.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

As South Carolinians are shut in for who-knows-how-long, they’re looking for ways to occupy their time and still do something positive.

Alexa Sparkman, manager of volunteer programs at Pawmetto Lifeline in Columbia, says her organization has seen a big uptick in adoptions and in requests to foster.

Vincent Ghilione / Unsplash

Premier Medical Laboratory Services in Greenville is the first commercial lab in South Carolina to be validated, via FDA and CDC protocols, to test for COVID-19 in fluid samples.

That’s an increasingly important job as the number of test kits ramps up and the number of people being tested for the coronavirus climbs along with it. But the growing number of tests is putting a lot of pressure on small labs like Premier, which are increasingly tasked with getting results back fast.

Chester County Sheriff's Office

Of the 39 county sheriff's races on tap satewide this November, the liveliest could be the one in Chester County, where two incumbents will vie to win the office.

Allie Smith / Unsplash

This story was expanded on March 26 to include a look at what the data cited in the Kaiser Family Foundation report could mean for South Carolina's rural communities.

Pallets of personal protective equipment and other supplies for distribution in SC
Sgt. Tim Andrews/ South Carolina National Guard

The number of COVID19 Cases in South Carolina continued to rise over the weekend. As of Sunday, the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) was investigating 195 cases and in a statement said it expected more cases to be documented.

“We want people to be prepared for more cases to occur and to continue to listen to and follow recommendations from public health officials,” said agency physician Dr. Brannon Traxler.

South Carolina’s Mental Health Centers Remain Open

Mar 19, 2020
abstract mental health symbol
GDJ via Pixabay

Update, March 23, 2020: The Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center is now condusting routine consultations onlythrough phone and video. Director Roger Williams says serious cases, new patients, and patients exhibiting suicidal tendencies are still being seen in-person, after screening outside the building.

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