COLUMBIA, S.C. - Health officials are asking visitors to South Carolina beaches to get tested for the novel coronavirus.
On Friday, South Carolina public health officials advised anyone who recently visited a beach in South Carolina — especially those who did not practice social distancing or didn’t wear a mask — to get tested for COVID-19.
“If you’ve gone to the beach, you’ve likely come in contact with somebody who is positive, but perhaps asymptomatic,” said Joan Duwve, director of public health with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Duwve said infection rates are very high among those who have visited the coastal state’s beaches. SCDHEC reports whole groups who visited beaches in the state have tested positive.
SCDHEC said it is also aware of clusters of cases among teenagers and young adults who have spent time together in social settings on South Carolina beaches, a popular tourist destination for people from out-of-state.
“They didn’t wear masks, and they didn’t social distance, and many of them contracted the virus, which not only caused them to be sick, but put the health of their families and their entire communities at risk,” Duwve said.
SCDHEC advises anyone who recently went to a beach on a school trip or participated in group activities at a beach in South Carolina get tested at a testing site.
Pop-up testing sites are available across the state with COVID-19 screenings free of charge.
According to Duwve, South Carolina has seen a 414% increase in newly reported COVID-19 cases among the 21-30 age group and a 966% increase in newly reported cases among those between the ages 11-20.
“We’ll continue to say it, until more people heed our recommendations. Wear a mask. Social distance from others by at least six feet. Avoid group gatherings. Wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick,” Duwve said.