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Coronavirus in South Carolina: Prisma changes weekend drive-through testing hours

Financial aid to farmers; latest numbers from DHEC; Irmo boy creates wearable social distancing reminder
Credit: wltx

COLUMBIA, S.C. — WLTX wants to keep you informed on the latest news about the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in South Carolina. Our coverage is rooted in Facts, Not Fear. Visit wltx.com/coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive c-overage and text questions to (803) 776-9508.

State and federal officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continually monitoring the spread of the virus. They are working hand-in-hand with the World Health Organization (WHO) to track the spread around the world and to stop it.

South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is leading the fight in our state.

Key facts:

Friday, April 3

Prisma Health COVID-19 drive-through testing locations will change their weekend hours

At Prisma Health Richland Hospital, weekend hours will shorten to 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The site will continue to be open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This site is outside Prisma Health Richland Hospital, 14 Medical Park, near the Emergency Department.

Testing is for patients with electronic orders from their Prisma Health provider or from a Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider. Paper orders from non-Prisma Health physicians also will be accepted. Patients must have official personal identification.

Lexington District One alters food program for children due to spring break

Lexington County School District one has announced that parents/guardians participating in the district's free food program for children will pick up Friday's lunch along with breakfast and lunch intended for Monday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 7.

 The meal program will resume Tuesday, April 14 with students receiving Tuesday's lunch and the next day's breakfast.

Starting Wednesday, April 15, the district says it will be changing its feeding program into a two day a week program. 

For additional details, click here.

Many of the high school health science programs in Lexington County ... School District One recently donated much needed personal protective equipment (PPEs) to nursing homes and health care facilities in our community. The schools gave hundreds of boxes of gloves and masks, along with gowns, face shields, shoe covers and goggles.

Thursday, April 2

No meal deliveries April 6-10 for Kershaw County School District because of Spring Break. Meal deliveries and pick-up will resume Monday, April 13 

KCSD Families - this is a reminder that tomorrow, our meal delivery ... by bus will include 10 meals - 5 lunches and 5 breakfasts. There will be no deliveries during the week of April 6-10 during Spring Break.

BlueCross and BlueShield COVID-19 insurance procedures 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina announced today that the insurance company and its BlueChoice HealthPlan subsidiary will waive all out-of-pocket costs related to in-network COVID-19 medical treatment for members, through June 1, effective immediately.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina announced today that the insurance company and its BlueChoice HealthPlan subsidiary will waive all out-of-pocket costs related to in-network COVID-19 medical treatment for members, through June 1, effective immediately.

No classes at USC through summer semester

 The University of South Carolina will continue to have no students on campus through the summer semester, both for the Columbia and Palmetto College campuses.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The University of South Carolina will continue to have no students on campus through the summer semester, both for the Columbia and Palmetto College campuses. The school announced the update late Thursday afternoon, saying they were doing that in the interest of the safety and health of students, faculty, and staff.

The school announced the update late Thursday afternoon, saying they were doing that in the interest of the safety and health of students, faculty, and staff.  That would mean no class through August 1.  

The Lexington County Sheriff will read you a bedtime story 

Wondering what's for dinner? New free mobile app can track participating local restaurants and food trucks.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Soda City Certified (SCC) app is letting users see what local Columbia restaurants are open and operating during the coronavirus. According to a release, the mobile application was originally designed to help residents and visitors see the Capitol City, but because of recent changes due to the coronavirus, it now includes food trucks along with local restaurants.

12-year-old Irmo boy and his grandmother want to gently remind others of social distancing with homemade buttons

IRMO, S.C. - A Midlands grandmother and grandson have come up with a helpful way to remind everyone about social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa Little and her 12-year-old grandson Blake Austin were talking one day about how close people were standing at the grocery store.

SC law enforcement officers continue to serve their communities --- even at a distance

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Officers and Deputies all around the state have been helping communities around the state, and even hosting virtual story time during the coronavirus pandemic. Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green reads "The Day the Crayons Quit" as part of Lexington County School District One's #ReadOneEmpowerOne challenge. Sgt.

SC High School League holds out hope for spring sports season, has not made final decision on athletic year.

As long as South Carolina schools are not in session, there are no spring sports or organized athletic activities. On Thursday, the South Carolina High School League executive committee met via teleconference to discuss the potential for having some sort of season for the spring sports, although any decision will depend on Governor Henry McMaster who has ordered all schools closed at least through April 30.

The latest numbers from DHEC

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's health agency, DHEC, says there were 4 new deaths and 210 new cases of coronavirus in the state. The latest numbers were released Wednesday afternoon. This brings the state's total number of deaths to 26. The four patients were elderly individuals who also had underlying health conditions.

SC Department of Employment and Workforce releases data from the week of March 22, 2020, as the US jobless rate hits a record 6.6 million due to coronavirus-related layoffs

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) released the latest data on the number of South Carolinians who have filed for unemployment insurance since the beginning of the coronavirus, of COVID-19, pandemic.

Messages of hope start appearing at Prisma Health locations across the Midlands.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - As medical professional around the country work to help those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, some in the Midlands find themselves greeted with uplifting messages before their shifts. RELATED: Coronavirus in South Carolina: Latest updates on the effects of COVID-19 Words of encouragement have been appearing at Prisma Health hospitals.

Local embroidery shop wants South Carolinians to remember to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A Midlands business is selling "local" t-shirts to help support business around Columbia. South Carolina Embroidery is a business whose sales are mainly custom orders for businesses around the Midlands. Sales manager Bret Mealing says they've never actually sold individual items online.

Local brewery, distillery shift production to a different type of alcoholic product

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Instead of bubbles and an amber glow, Steel Hands is turning one of its beers potent and clear, with the help of Southern Essence Distilling. As the brewery off Foreman Street in Cayce sits empty due to the coronavirus, master brewer Doug Smith said they decided to donate a tank of pecan ale to make hand sanitizer.

Lexington man spreads signs of hope throughout his community

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. - People in Lexington are making crosses with lights on them to help bring hope during the coronavirus pandemic. Many people in the Midlands are looking for positive things in the community or something they can do for someone else during this time.

There is a nationwide shortage of trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and paramedic personnel. In order to help fill the shortage, Midlands Technical College launched a nine month paramedic certification program.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - There is a critical shortage of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics across the nation. In fact, there have been fewer and fewer every year. Now, as a pandemic hits the country, communities need first responders more than ever.

SC Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers says it may take some time to know the full effect of COVID-19 on farmers in the state, but, as spring harvest season begins, there is financial aid available.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Financial aid is being made available for farmers as the impacts of the coronavirus are starting to take affect. South Carolina Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers says they've been following the governor's lead when it comes to interacting through telecommunication as much as possible.

Due to a low crime rate, Forest Acres City Council has not yet enacted a curfew for residents but urges Gov. McMaster to issue a stay-at-home order.

FOREST ACRES, S.C. - The city of Forest Acres held their first virtual meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday evening. They discussed what's next for the city. Effective immediately, council decided to close the parks. This follows Governor Henry McMaster's order from Tuesday. They expect to post signs later in the week.

Wednesday, April 1

Hospitals continue to ask for medical supplies 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - As coronavirus cases continue to increase in South Carolina, the strain on hospitals across the state will continue to grow. Wednesday, Lexington Medical Center said they are currently stocked with enough medical supplies to meet demand.

The Center said it is continuing to look for supplies at fair market values to meet the potential increased future demand due to coronavirus.  Spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson said recent donations have helped

A friendly reminder

Sometimes feels like too much-- messages of hope in the pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. - As medical professional around the country work to help those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, some in the Midlands will be greeted with uplifting messages before their shifts. RELATED: Coronavirus in South Carolina: Latest updates on the effects of COVID-19 Words of encouragement have been appearing at Prisma Health hospitals.

At the Prisma-Health Richland campus, messages like 'We're all in this together,' 'Think positive,' and 'Keep shining beautiful ones; the world needs your light,' are just a few to surface this week.

Most people complying with stay at home order in Columbia 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The citywide stay-at-home order in Columbia went into effect Sunday. RELATED: Stay-at-home order now in effect in Columbia Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said more people have been complying with the order. "We have seen very good compliance in general," Holbrook said.

Chief Holbrook said they have only issued two citations related to curfews. And as far as arresting anyone for not complying, the chief said that would only be a last resort.

SCDHEC announces new COVID-19 cases and deaths

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's health agency, DHEC, says there were 4 new deaths and 210 new cases of coronavirus in the state. The latest numbers were released Wednesday afternoon. This brings the state's total number of deaths to 26. The four patients were elderly individuals who also had underlying health conditions.

DHEC, says there were 4 new deaths and 210 new cases of coronavirus in the state.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources sent out a list of cancelations.

Credit: S.C. Department of Natural Resources Facebook page

Following are SCDNR-related cancellations:

  • 2020 Turkey Lottery Hunts - all dates all SCDNR Lottery hunts on WMA properties have been canceled. 
  • Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge hunts remain open unless a "Stay Home" order is declared.  You can see that order here.
  • Coyote Management Workshop – Webb Wildlife Center (April 2-3)
  • Fish Brosnan Forest Fishing Rodeo (April 4)
  • Table Rock State Park Fishing Clinics (April 4 & April 18)
  • Diversity Outreach Program - Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve Nature Walk (April 11)

  • Diversity Outreach Program - Volunteer Lab Day at Parker Annex Archaeology Center (April 13)
  • SC Envirothon Competition (April 24) - Postponed
  • Blue Hole Recreation Area Fishing Rodeo (April 25) - Postponed

  • Historic Camden, Kershaw County Fishing Rodeo (April 25)
  • 8 Oaks Park, Georgetown County Fishing Rodeo (April 25)
  • Charles Town Landing, Charleston County Fishing Rodeo (April 25)
  • Blue Heron, Jasper County Fishing Rodeo (April 25)
  • Cohen Campbell Fishing Rodeo (April 25)
  • Lake Hartwell Fishing Clinic (April 25)
  • Lexington Wildlife Chapter Fishing Clinic (April 25)
  • Santee State Park Fishing Clinic (April 25)
  • Diversity Outreach Program - Horry County Fishing Clinic (May 1)
  • Union County Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Star Fort Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Croft State Park Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Darlington County Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Barnwell Hatchery Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Peachtree, Horry County Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Hardeeville, Jasper County Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Goose Creek, Berkeley County Fishing Rodeo (May 2)

  • Lake Thicketty Fishing Rodeo (May 9)

  • Lick Fork Fishing Rodeo (May 9)

  • Marlboro County Fishing Rodeo (May 9)

  • Burton Wells, Beaufort County Fishing Rodeo (May 9)

  • Forrest Hills, Colleton County Fishing Rodeo (May 9)

  • Black Swamp, Hampton County Fishing Rodeo (May 9)

  • Academy First Responders Rodeo at Lake Cooley (May 9)

  • Diversity Outreach Program - Margaret H. Lloyd (Camden) Nature Hike (May 23)
  • Sun City Grandparents Park Fishing Clinics (May 16, June 20, July 18)
  • Bat netting is canceled until further notice.
  • All volunteer lab days at Parker Annex Archaeology Center are canceled until further notice.
  • All Trailer and Take One Make One (TOMO) events are canceled until further notice.

Town of Batesburg-Leesville Comet line suspended 

The COMET has suspended route 97 to Batesburg-Leesville during the ongoing State of Emergency due to COVID-19. When service is restore we will share that information with you.

First responders in Lexington County will unite Friday as "Sirens for Solidarity." Emergency units not on call will sound their sirens at 7 p.m. April 3 as a show of support and service for the community.

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. - Lexington County and local first responders will be uniting as a symbol of solidarity to show they're here for the community during the coronavirus pandemic. Many people are starting to stay at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The SC Commission on Higher Education announced refund and credit guidelines for colleges and universities in the state to ensure all students are treated fairly.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) announced guidelines for public institutions of higher education for refunds and credits to students dislocated by the COVID-19 outbreak. According to the release, this guidance for SC higher education will ensure all students will be treated fairly.

University of South Carolina begins refunding students on-campus residential housing, meal plans and parking costs due to classes canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Greek organizations will be handled separately.

Students can expect refunds in their accounts by April 22.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The University of South Carolina will begin issuing refunds to students based on guidelines provided by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE). The University of South Carolina will begin issuing prorated refunds to students for meal plans, parking permits and on-campus residential housing.

Fort Jackson ships out approximately 800 basic training graduates to advance training facility in Virginia

COLUMBIA, S.C. - While stay-at-home measures are being implemented in cities and states across the nation, the United States Army once again on the move. Following the stop movement order issued on March 16, 2020, the first group of basic training graduates at Fort Jackson in Columbia have been transferred to their advanced individual training location in Fort Lee, Virginia, according to a series of tweets by US Army TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command).

Tuesday, March 31

Governor Henry McMaster shut down all non-essential businesses in South Carolina. The executive order focuses mainly on entertainment venues, athletic and recreational facilities, and close contact service providers.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered all non-essential businesses statewide to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. McMaster announced the move Tuesday afternoon at a news conference at the state's emergency operations center. That news briefing continues in the video player above, on TV, and on the WLTX News19 Facebook page.
Credit: wltx
Credit: wltx

This comes after McMaster's order to close all beaches, rivers, lakes and waterways in South Carolina to prevent the spread of COVID-19

DHEC says it is not tracking confirmed cases of coronavirus in health care workers as lawmakers call for more equipment

COLUMBIA, S.C. - This week, MUSC in Charleston announced it had 34 employees whom tested positive for coronavirus. The healthcare provider said it would not release identifying information on the staff members and was contacting patients who were at a high risk of exposure.