COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) — On Monday, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control said they began implementing updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for tracking and reporting cases COVID-19.
DHEC said South Carolina will follow the new federal criteria to ensure the virus is uniformly reported across the country.
“The CDC’s update of COVID-19 case definitions is a normal and expected change to address what we are learning about diagnostic tests and the clinical presentation for this virus, which didn’t even exist a year ago,” said Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina State Epidemiologist, in a news release. “Updated reporting criteria is typical progression when we encounter new conditions. Doctors and scientists across the world continue to make discoveries about this deadly disease, and the better we are able to accurately and uniformly count cases, the more we learn how to stop it.”
The CDC’s full update of COVID-19 criteria is available <a href=”http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/-yKbCADrDKI9BKXvruG2y96?domain=link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com”>here</a>.
DHEC said three of the most notable changes are:
a positive antibody result no longer classifies an individual as a probable casea positive antigen test from a respiratory specimen, which detects a protein on the virus, does classify an individual as a probable casea new “suspected case” category was created for individuals with positive antibody tests or positive antigen tests from autopsy specimens from an individual not previously identified as a case
“Suspected cases” represents individuals with the lowest level of evidence that they have been infected with COVID-19, DHED said, so all suspect cases will be tracked and investigated to see if these individuals become probable or confirmed cases; however, the CDC advises against reporting out those suspect cases as part of a state’s total case numbers. DHEC said it will follow the federal guidance, DHEC will continue its daily reporting of confirmed and probable cases only.
A positive antibody result will now be categorized as a suspected case, DHEC explained.
“In essence, these updated COVID-19 case definitions indicate that antibody test results currently are not reliable enough to consider an individual a confirmed or probable case, however, an antigen test from a respiratory specimen is reliable enough to make someone a probable case,” further explained Dr. Brannon Traxler, interim DHEC Public Health Director, in the news release. “As medical experts learn more about COVID-19, we can expect additional updates in case definitions and reporting criteria. This is typical of all diseases and isn’t specific to COVID-19, and it helps ensure we have a uniform system in place for providing an accurate look at how this disease is affecting populations.”
The CDC has also updated the clinical symptoms for diagnosing COVID-19. New symptoms were added, including nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and congestion or runny nose.
Changes in taste or smell now meet the clinical criteria alone and do not need to be present with other symptoms, DHEC explained.
DHEC encourages anyone with these symptoms <a href=”http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/mW1SCBBvB9cV0XrgPC6L_8X?domain=link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com”>to get tested.</a>
Also on Monday, DHEC announced 525 new confirmed virus cases, 16 new probable cases, and 7 additional virus deaths.
This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 130,256, probable cases to 2,424, confirmed deaths to 2,922, and 155 probable deaths across South Carolina.
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