South Carolina governor Henry McMaster delayed approval of a statewide home stay policy on Thursday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise – and as local governments pursue their own restraining orders – adding heads of state will only implement this “drastic” measure “if and only if it becomes necessary to take these measures.” ”
“When will it become necessary?” How will we know? McMaster said at a press conference, referring to when the state could order a home stay policy. “We will know about the data, the facts, the science, the expert knowledge and opinions and analysis of professionals in the field. … We will do it on the basis of nothing else. If that time comes, you will surely know it and we will tell. ”
The push came as the cities of Columbia and Charleston adopted their own policies outlining who is and who is not considered essential and can get to and from work while the state tries to deal with the epidemic of coronavirus.
Myrtle Beach City Council also decided on Thursday to close hotels, accommodation and popular attractions.
The city of Greenville would also consider a similar measure.
“I have great confidence in the people of South Carolina,” said McMaster. “They follow the rules. They are respectful. They are courteous. They are sweet. They are smart. They are resistant. And if you notice the things we asked them to do, they do it and they do it very well. ”
In the state capital, residents are advised to stay at home as much as possible to avoid spreading the virus.
Columbia City Council on Thursday approved its on-site shelter plan, which requires people to stay at home, avoid public streets, sidewalks and other public places that include businesses, unless those businesses do provide “essential services”.
However, the order, which takes effect Sunday at 12:01 p.m., offers a long list of exceptions, including public transportation, food services and groceries, the media, banks, and homeless shelters.
McMaster told reporters Thursday evening that he had not yet read all of the details of the new orders for Columbia and Charleston.
But, he added, most of the measures ordered are measures that the state has already called for for two weeks.
“The good news is that the South Carolinians are following these instructions and following these requests and suggestions very well,” he said.
Public health officials said on Thursday that the state now has 456 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and that the virus has contributed to the deaths of nine people. Johns Hopkins University said on Thursday that the United States is now the world leader in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus.
State officials also said the state had a backlog of 1,600 samples to test. The backlog is the result of what officials have described as a national and state shortage of chemicals needed to test the samples, which can lead to delays in test results, said state epidemiologist Linda Bell.
“Due to potential shortages, we do not recommend that everyone who is sick get tested to see if they are infected with COVID-19,” said Bell. “If the activity of the disease increases considerably, we will advise people to stay at home, to improve and to consult a doctor only if the symptoms worsen. This will allow health care systems and our health care providers to provide care to those who are most seriously ill and need it most. ”
While cases are expected to increase further in the state and the country, President Donald Trump said this week that he hoped the country would resume operations by Easter.
“It’s good,” said McMaster. “We would be delighted to resume business at Easter. ”
But asked if it was misleading or confusing to people, McMaster replied “No”.
“No, I don’t. The president is optimistic, ”said McMaster. “The President realizes … that business is our lifeblood. South Carolina business is business. … And so, we are trying to do everything we can to keep businesses growing and grow them without endangering public health. ”