(The Center Square) – South Carolina reported 1,002 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, marking the fifth consecutive day of more than 900 new cases and the fourth time in the past five days the number exceeded 1,000.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control also announced the state has exceeded 25,000 total cases and more than 700 people have been hospitalized because of the disease.
In all, 25,666 cases have been confirmed, with 659 deaths. Health officials said 731 of the 7,119 – just over 10 percent – of the occupied hospital beds statewide were COVID-19 patients.
Although not a resident of South Carolina, one of the more high-profile cases of the coronavirus was announced Friday, when professional golfer Nick Watney tested positive. Watney immediately withdrew from the RBC Heritage, which is played annually on Hilton Head Island.
The PGA Tour said all participants and caddies were given temperature checks before the tournament began, but that Watney indicated Friday he had symptoms consistent with the disease.
Through contact tracing, it was determined 11 other people were in close contact with Watney and also were tested, although all were negative. The PGA Tour resumed tournaments earlier this month but without spectators.
Fellow golfer Justin Thomas told reporters after his round Friday he did not think people on Hilton Head Island were taking the pandemic seriously, indicating he had observed “absolutely packed” beaches and restaurants while driving between the course and his hotel.
Organizers of protests in Columbia over police brutality against minorities also are urging attendees to get tested after several positive tests were reported.
Organizer Lawrence Nathaniel in a Facebook post Sunday said, “We are asking you to go get tested immediately,” referring to those who attended any number of demonstrations and marches between May 30 and June 17.
Nathaniel said at least four organizers of the “I Can’t Breathe SC” protests and six attendees have tested positive.
“We need to do our part. Go get tested. Don’t come to a protest until you get tested,” Nathaniel wrote.
An art demonstration that was scheduled for Sunday in downtown Columbia, called “Chalk the Streets,” was cancelled after Nathaniel said 12 of the participating artists backed out, including two who had tested positive for coronavirus.
DHEC said it would increase its monthly testing goals from 11,000 people, about 2 percent of the state’s population, to 140,000 people starting in July.