The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced the following COVID-19 updates.
Today’s cases and deaths (scdhec.gov/COVID19)
- New confirmed/probable total cases: 1,174/13 Summary click here
- New confirmed/probable total deaths: 27/1 Summary click here
Cumulative totals (scdhec.gov/COVID19)
- Confirmed and probable cases: 203,659/13,828
- Confirmed and probable deaths: 4,077/304
- Tests performed for South Carolinians: 2,707,337
Testing opportunities (scdhec.gov/findatest)
- Testing opportunities available statewide: 286
Percent positive (scdhec.gov/COVID19dashboard)
- 6,514 individual test results reported statewide yesterday (not including antibody tests)
- 18% percent positive
What is the “percent positive” and why does it matter? (CDC Explains)
The percent positive is exactly what it sounds like: the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, or: (positive tests)/(total tests) x 100%. The percent positive (sometimes called the “percent positive rate” or “positivity rate”) helps public health officials answer questions such as:
- What is the current level of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) transmission in the community?
- Are we doing enough testing for the amount of people who are getting infected?
The percent positive will be high if the number of positive tests is too high, or if the number of total tests is too low. A higher percent positive suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet.
The percent positive is a critical measure because it gives us an indication how widespread infection is in the area where the testing is occurring—and whether levels of testing are keeping up with levels of disease transmission.
What does a high percent positive mean?
A high percent positive means that more testing should probably be done—and it suggests that it is not a good time to relax restrictions aimed at reducing coronavirus transmission. Because a high percentage of positive tests suggests high coronavirus infection rates (due to high transmission in the community), a high percent positive can indicate it may be a good time to add restrictions to slow the spread of disease.
How high is too high?
The higher the percent positive is, the more concerning it is. As a rule of thumb, however, one threshold for the percent positive being “too high” is 5%. For example, the World Health Organization recommended in May that the percent positive remain below 5% for at least two weeks before governments consider reopening. If we are successful in bringing coronavirus transmission under control, this threshold might be lowered over time. To further relax social restrictions and allow very large gatherings or meetings of people traveling from many different areas, for example, we would want a lower threshold.
- Hospital data (daily): scdhec.gov/COVID19hospitals
- Extended care facility data (Tuesdays and Fridays): scdhec.gov/nursinghomedata
- Assisted living visitation status (Tuesdays): scdhec.gov/nursinghomedata
- Private, public and charter schools (Tuesdays and Fridays): scdhec.gov/covid19schools
The information above as well as extensive reporting on county-level information, demographics and more is available at scdhec.gov/COVID19. The website is updated between 1 p.m.-3 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. weekends. Visit scdhec.gov/COVID19vaccine for the latest vaccine information.
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