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Live updates: Coronavirus in South Carolina

Find the latest updates on coronavirus in South Carolina right here.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — News is happening quickly as South Carolina responds to the coronavirus (COVD-19). We'll have the latest updates for you right here. 

After President Donald Trump declared a national emergency last Friday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in the Palmetto State. 

Download the WLTX App for Updates 

RELATED: As schools close, here is how districts are planning on feeding students

RELATED: Midlands churches change worship plans due to coronavirus concerns

Saturday, MARCH 21, 2020

Francis Marion National Forest closes campgrounds and some day use recreation areas

The closed areas are listed below: 

  • Buck Hall Recreation Area (camping/day use pavilion and restrooms), except for the boat launch
  • • Huger Recreation Area, except for boat launch
  • • Honey Hill Campground
  • • Elmwood Campground
  • • Twin Ponds Rifle Range
  • • Boggy Head Rifle Range
  • • Wambaw Cycle Trail

Friday, MARCH 20, 2020

Coronavirus cases in South Carolina rise to 125 

For the first time, the number of coronavirus cases in the state exceeds 100. 

The latest numbers show 125 total cases, up 45 since the previous update on Thursday.

Richland County had the most new cases, with 14. And now there are case in Orangeburg, Sumter, and Clarendon Counties. 

RELATED: 125 cases of coronavirus now in SC, 45 new ones

SC gets shipment of masks, gloves, gowns from national stockpile

South Carolina has received its first shipment of key medical supplies from the national stockpile to aid in the fight against the coronavirus.

State officials confirmed Friday that it received the first of what may be multiple shipments on Tuesday, March 17. The state had previously requested its full allocation from the Strategic National Stockpile. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina has received its first shipment of key medical supplies from the national stockpile to aid in the fight against the coronavirus. State officials confirmed Friday that it received the first of what may be multiple shipments on Tuesday, March 17.

Governor orders police to break up crowds at beaches 

Governor Henry McMaster's office said beaches on the state's coast will remain open. However, SLED is directing local law enforcement to disperse crowds, which pose a threat to themselves and others. 

In recent days, beach access has sparked debate in Florida and other states as the public grows increasingly wary of the spread of the coronavirus. 

RELATED: Governor says crowds will be 'dispersed' as SC beaches remain open

Drive thru testing available in Sumter 

Prisma Health has added a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Sumter.

The tests will be performed at the hospital’s Calhoun Street/Day Surgery entrance, address, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday–Friday.

People must be referred there by a doctor or a telemedicine visit, however.

RELATED: Drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Sumter now open

Home Team BBQ closing restaurants, laying off employees

Home Team BBQ will be closing its door indefinitely, and laying off employees. 

The food chain's owner said all locations, including the one in Five Points, would temporarily shut down. About 400 employees at all locations will be laid off. 

RELATED: Home Team BBQ chain closing doors indefinitely, laying off 400 employees

Trash pickup could see delays in Richland County 

Curbside trash pickup customers in Richland County might see some delays. The county said Friday the reason for the potential problem is staff restrictions experienced by Richland County’s contracted trash haulers. 

The county says the trash will be picked up regardless, and they're asking for the public's patience.

RELATED: Curbsite trash pickup to see delays in Richland County

Chapin issues state of emergency 

The Mayor of Chapin has issued a State of Emergency Proclamation. For more information on COVID-19 and the Town of Chapin, click here.

Department of Agriculture Closes Office to Public, Farmers Markets Remain Open 

Physical office locations for the Department of Agriculture are closed.

The state farmers markets (in West Columbia, Greenville, and Florence) remain open for regular business. In the release, the SCDA writes, "We urge you to support South Carolina farmers during this time of crisis." 

Lexington Medical Center restricts visitors, takes precautions 

Beginning 9 a.m. on Friday, visitors are no longer allowed in Lexington Medical Center facilities. 

Children younger than 18 years of age are not approved visitors. There will be no visitors for patients who have suspected or tested positive for COVID-19. 

There are some circumstances when Lexington Medical center will allow one visitor. 

  • Obstetric patients 
  • Pediatric patients 
  • Newborn Nursery and Special Care Nursery patients 
  • End-of-life events 

In addition, effective Monday, March 23, Lexington Medical Center’s ambulatory surgery centers at Lexington Medical Center Lexington and Lexington Medical Center Irmo will be closed. The Urgent Cares at those locations will remain open.

Small business help approved 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Governor Henry McMaster’s request for the agency to offer South Carolina’s small businesses with disaster assistance. Governor McMaster requested the disaster declaration in a March 17 letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza.

The disaster declaration means that South Carolina’s small businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 virus may qualify for low-interest federal disaster loans. All 46 counties are included in the disaster declaration.

South Carolina’s businesses can apply online at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Beware of scams.  

Remember if it sounds too good to be true, or they talk about green dot cards or start asking for your personal information,  well you know the rest. 

WASHINGTON - While the specifics of a virus relief plan are still being worked out by Congress, scammers aren't waiting around. Some are jumping at the chance to try and take advantage of the situation.

One of the tip offs is the the government wouldn't use a Gmail account to send emails to citizens  

Just a feel good tweet........

Kershaw sets up hotline for coronavirus questions 

The number is 803-425-7342 and is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. 

Kershaw County has been the hardest hit so far in South Carolina by the virus, with 25 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning. No other county is in double digits.

CAMDEN, S.C. - Kershaw County has set up a hotline where people can get their coronavirus questions answered related to the county. RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus in South Carolina The number is 803-425-7342 and is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Clemson University extends remote learning  

Clemson University is extending distance learning through the remainder of the spring semester and postponing May commencement ceremonies.

CLEMSON, S.C. - Clemson University is extending distance learning through the remainder of the spring semester and postponing May commencement ceremonies. In a letter to students Thursday, Clemson President Jim Clements provided the following guidance regarding the remainder of the spring semester. Classes at all Clemson University locations will be delivered online for the rest of this semester.

Classes at all Clemson University locations will be delivered online for the rest of this semester.

American Legion Farmers Market in Sumter opens on Friday 

The market will have home staples like veggies, meats, milk, butter and ice cream from local vendors.

SUMTER, S.C. - The American Legion Farmers Market is expected to continue to operate on schedule during the coronavirus pandemic. RELATED: DHEC: 21 new cases of novel Coronavirus in South Carolina As of March 19, 2020, market leaders say they're adjusting operations to a drive-through set-up and will also accept online orders on their Facebook page.

The market, located at 2 S. Artillery Drive, is open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. each Friday at the American Legion fairgrounds in Sumter.

Lander University to go online for the rest of the semester

A reminder from DHEC 

er 

Gov. McMaster pleads for common sense

"We need to be calm and not lose our heads," McMaster said. "Be courteous to our neighbors. We are staying ahead of it but we need the cooperation of every citizens."

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster asked the public to use common sense to help combat the coronavirus in the state, as the number of cases continues to rise. McMaster gave an update on the state's response Thursday afternoon at the emergency operations center.

President Trump tweets out to first responders

Former Gov. David Beasley tests positive for COVID-19

He says, "I began feeling unwell this past weekend after returning to my home in the United States from an official visit to Canada and I took an early decision to go into self-quarantine, five days ago.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley says he has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Beasley says in a statement he began to feel ill after returning from an official visit to Canada and put himself into quarantine at his South Carolina home last Saturday.

So far, my symptoms have been relatively light, and I am in good spirits. I am lucky to be close to my family and I have access to excellent medical support."

City of Columbia wants to hear from small business owners

The city is asking for small business owners to take an online survey so the city can see how best they can help in response to COVID-19

The city of Columbia is hoping that small business owners will tell them how they can help. Columbia and its Office of Business Opportunities wants to know how the coronavirus is affecting their businesses. A survey has been created to help the city figure out the best ways they can help.

City of Columbia makes decision to close all parks and facilities 

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department has announced that they will close park facilities until further notice to protect citizens and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in our community. Due to the Coronavirus, the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department will close the following facilities: Anna Mae Dickerson Mini-Park - 1315 Liberty Hill Avenue Ben Arnold 1100 S.

SCDHEC updates COVID-19 numbers

Twenty-one new cases in SC, this brings the number to 81 cases in 17 counties.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) says it is investigating 21 additional cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number statewide to 81 cases in 17 counties.

University of South Carolina to continue remote learning through Spring semester

May graduation ceremonies have been canceled

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The University of South Carolina will continue remote learning for students through the remainder of the Spring semester. Students will begin online instruction as previously scheduled and it will continue through the completion of final exams in May. This applies to all institutions across the university system (Columbia, Aiken, Beaufort, Upstate, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union).

Lexington County Detention Center releasing some inmates in response to the coronavirus

LEXINGTON, S.C. - Seven defendants were released from the Lexington County Detention Center in a response to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

Lexington-Richland School District 5 delivering meals

From the SC Department of Education about food service

La-Z-Boy stores in the Southeast closing for two weeks

At La-Z-Boy, the health and well-being of our customers and La-Z-Boy family is top priority. We know many of you might have recently been shopping in our stores or are planning a trip soon. The cleanliness of our retail stores is something we've always taken pride in.

 La-Z-Boy Southeast is closing its eight locations in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina --including the Columbia location-- effective this evening— Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. The stores plan to reopen on Thursday, April 2nd.   

The company will continue offering services through the website, email and phone (980) 201-3340.

From the City of Cayce about trash pickup 

South Carolina Senate Sessions next week nixed

               From President of the Senate Harvey Peeler Jr.
Senate Rule 1C authorizes the President “to declare the Senate adjourned to some other time” during “times of great emergency.” 

As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I will invoke this rule for the session days scheduled for next week. 

The Senate will not meet in session March 24th, 25th and 26th . 

As President, I reserve the right to call the Senate back into session if legislative action is necessary to facilitate the state’s public health response to this crisis. At their discretion, committee chairs may schedule committee or subcommittee meetings critical to the business of the State. 

However, any meeting scheduled should be done so in a manner that complies with CDC guidelines to adequately protect the health and safety of the members, staff, and public who may attend. In an effort to limit public access to the Gressette Building, the attached notice will be placed on the outside doors of the building.

 If you are aware of any visitors who may be coming to your office, please have your staff notify the Security desk prior to their arrival (803-212-6911). The Senate will remain open and staff should follow the directions announced by the Clerk.

Publix announces hours for seniors only

Credit: Publix
Publix grocery store

Publix announced that is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. for customers age 65 and over. 

Publix pharmacies will also open early at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to serve senior shoppers. These special hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays will give seniors a chance to shop at their own pace, without crowds.

Fort Jackson increases security measures at gates

If you plan on going to Fort Jackson you'll have to have your temperature taken

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Fort Jackson is adding extra security measures at all gate posts. According to an email, "Beginning Mar. 19, Department of the Army Security Guards will conduct a general health and welfare assessment of all personnel entering Fort Jackson at each gate.

From the Kershaw County Sheriff Department-No curfew

Cities and counties are different. What may work for a city doesn’t necessarily work for a county. At this time, your KCSO has NO plans to request a county curfew.
Our goal is to reduce the spread of a virus. Exposure to a virus will not be reduced by limiting travel throughout the county when less people are out on the roads.

Credit: Kershaw County Sheriff Departemt
No curfew in Kershaw county

We are not seeing an increase in crime at night. All businesses have power to run their alarms and camera systems. We have a full force of patrol deputies. Limiting traffic on our roads would reduce extra eyes (from good citizens) who may report crimes to us.


Cleaning tips:

We know you want to keep your home and work space clean, but be careful if you mix your cleaning products 

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is asking small business owners to complete a short survey about your specific needs during the coronavirus emergency. Link to the survey is here.

Department of Social Services warns of scam targeting SNAP users

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Scammers are trying to aquire personal information using fear and the spread of coronavirus. According to The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), there is a possible phishing scam attempting to acquire personal identifying information from individuals who might be recipients of federal benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Government buildings are beginning to restrict entry to essential personnel only. So far, Richland County, the South Carolina State Firefighters' Association, Lexington County, Beaufort County, Charleston County, Georgetown County governments have closed buildings to public access.

Big Mo Drive-in to remain open in Monetta for those who want to attend a movie but not sit in a theater

MONETTA, S.C. - The Big Mo Drive-In Theater will be taking several precautions due to the coronavirus when they open this weekend. In 1951, the drive-in opened its first screen. In 1986, they shortly closed but reopend in 1999. They added one screen in 2005 and an additional one in 2011.

Kershaw County sets up hotline 

A hotline has been set up for Kershaw County residents from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 425-7242. More information can be found here

8:50 am Festivals continue to be postponed or cancelled. The City of Newberry is rescheduling the popular BBQ festival, Pork in the Park

And the SC Poultry Festival in Batesburg-Leesville has been cancelled.

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. - Officials with the South Carolina Poultry Festival have made the difficult decision to cancel this year's event in the Town of Batesburg-Leesville. Brent Shealy, the co-chair of the steering committee for the festival, says they've been thinking about this decision for the last week or so.

8 a.m. Lexington Police begin alternative call response plan to limit the number of contacts that officers and staff have with others during the coronavirus pandemic.

South Carolinians traveling abroad have found themselves unable to leave certain countries because of travel bans in place. Here are two stories:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

How one Midlands music store is trying to work around the virus

Belk makes call to close stores

The department store announced they would be closing all locations until Monday March 30.  The company will, however, still take online orders on Belk.com and on their app.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Belk has become one of the big department stores to close down temporarily due to the coronavirus. The company announced that as of Tuesday night, they would be closing all locations until Monday March 30. The company will, however, still take online orders on Belk.com and on their app.

EdVenture is offering free online educational programming 

EdVenture’s three locations (Columbia, Hartsville and Myrtle Beach) are temporarily closed in response to coronavirus concerns but the programming can be accessed through their website

COLUMBIA, S.C. - EdVenture Children's Museum is offering daily at-home educational programming that parents and caregivers can do with their children through their website. "Today's Play" offers video content and downloadable activities meant to engage children in imaginative play, science activities, cooking lessons, art activities and more, according to EdVenture.

More millennials are getting ill from the virus than thought

Recent statistics from other countries are showing that younger people are getting seriously ill

HOUSTON - From the beginning, experts have said most young people will have only mild symptoms if they get the coronavirus. Others won't even know they have it. The information was based on statistics from China, where the virus originated, and more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed.

Ready to go stir crazy?  Well this could help. Planet Fitness offering free online workouts. 

The classes are free for everyone and will stream on their Facebook page each night at 7 p.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Folks are doing everything they can to make sure their hygiene practices are in tip-top shape, but what about their physical health? With coronavirus precautions taking place across the country, finding an open gym can be a challenge during this time of social distancing.

President Trump signs second coronavirus aid bill

The bill is aimed at making diagnostic tests for the virus, free

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus response measure on Wednesday to provide sick leave and free testing. The measure, a second coronavirus response bill, was overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House and Senate, was then sent the legislation for Trump to enact with his signature.

Joint Base Charleston airman tests positive for COVID-19

Col. Terrance Adams,commander also declared a public health emergency for installation personnel and issued an order requiring all non-mission critical personnel to work from home to  slow the spread of the virus.

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. - An active-duty airman at Joint Base Charleston is currently undergoing treatment following a positive COVID-19 test. "Leadership is continually monitoring the situation and working closely with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to coordinate prevention and response efforts in the local area.

Lexington One total meals shared today 

Looking for great live streams you can watch with your kids?

And the great part is that they are even educational

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing kids and many parents to stay at home for the time being, there are lots of organizations starting daily live-streams to help occupy and educate children. From astronomy to car history, lots of museums and organizations are finding ways for kids to continue learning during school coronavirus closures.

Are you feeling stressed because of the virus and all that is happening?

We do too. Promise.  Here are some tips from the CDC to help you get to a more relaxed place and remember everyone handles stress differently. 

Congaree National Park to close due to virus 

Parents adjusting to teaching their children at home 

Digital classes are the new reality for students in homes across South Carolina as schools close their doors to guard against the coronavirus.

SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. - Digital classes are the new reality for students in homes across South Carolina as schools close their doors to guard against the coronavirus. Allison Eady's son Carter is a first grader in Sumter. When she first found out that schools would be closed through the month of March, she worried what would happen next.

Restaurants going from dine-in to take out 

Many restaurant owners have been meeting together to discuss what they can do to help get through the coronavirus situation.

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. - Restaurants in the state of South Carolina are now moving to carryout and delivery after dine-in services were shutdown by government officials on Tuesday. Governor Henry McMaster held a press conference on Wednesday to give an update on the coronavirus and how it's impacting the Palmetto State.

Have employment questions related to COVID-19?

The S.C. Department of Employment & Workforce (SCDEW) wants to help answer them and get you to the right resources.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Have employment questions related to coronavirus closures and impacted businesses? The S.C. Department of Employment & Workforce (SCDEW) wants to help answer them and get you to the right resources. In this unprecedented time, agency officials say they are working in real time with federal and state officials to create solutions and support for individuals and businesses.

A worker at the RUSH's fast food in Camden tests positive for virus

The company sent out a letter that says that if a customer visited the Camden Store between March 3 and March 14, 2020, they could have been exposed. 

CAMDEN, S.C. - A Rush's fast-food employee was diagnosed with coronavirus after working at the Camden restaurant. According to a letter sent out by Rush's, a Camden Store employee tested positive on Wednesday.

SCDNR offices open now but.....

SCDNR would like to remind citizens who need to purchase or renew state hunting and fishing licenses, permits or tags, or who need to process titling and registration paperwork for boats, that all of these transactions can be done online, via phone or through mail orders. 

Credit: WLTX

SCDNR leaders would encourage anyone with licensing or boat titling and registration needs to utilize these options until the coronavirus threat has passed and these directives and travel restrictions have been lifted.

To purchase a license, permit or tags, or renew your watercraft, go online here to  or call 1-866-714-3611. To register your watercraft, please mail your documents to:  SCDNR, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC  29202-0167.   

COMET to operate for essential travel, asks riders to practice social distancing. 

The COMET will operate on a Saturday schedule starting Thursday, which includes free fare for "essential" travel, and exit door boarding.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The COMET will operate on a Saturday schedule starting Thursday, which includes free fare for "essential" travel, and exit door boarding. Transit will operate on this new Saturday schedule beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020.

City of Camden to impose curfew beginning on Thursday March 19, 2020

The mayor said the curfew will include exceptions for police officers, firefighters, emergency services personnel, doctors, nurses, health-care providers, persons traveling to or from work, and those with life-threatening conditions who require medical assistance.

CAMDEN, S.C. - The city of Camden has announed a curfew to begin on Thursday March 19, 2020. Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford has declared a state of public emergency related to the spread of COVID-19 in the city and is proclaiming a citywide curfew from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, effective Thursday, March 19, 2020.

 

County of Sumter declares State of Emergency 

The measure allows Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon to take actions to protect the health and safety of citizens.

SUMTER, S.C. - The Sumter County Council has declared a state of emergency in an effort to deal with the coronavirus. RELATED: Live updates: Coronavirus in South Carolina RELATED: Lo que necesitas saber sobre el coronavirus The county held a meeting Wednesday to discuss their response and voted unanimously to approve an ordinance about the state of emergency.

Town of Irmo makes some changes

Irmo Town Hall will be closed to walk in traffic. There will be a reduced staff working to answer phones and emails from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Public Services will also be working with a smaller staff Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to Noon.   

The Police Department will also be closed to walk in traffic but patrols are still at full strength. 

Town parks will remain open, however, no large groups or gatherings will be permitted at any of the parks in response to COVID-19.  Park equipment will be washed at least two times a week and officials are asking that you practice social distancing while at the parks. 

Lo que necesitas saber sobre el coronavirus

Tenemos una lista de todos los recursos que necesita para mantenerse informado sobre el coronavirus aqui. 

RELATED: Lo que necesitas saber sobre el coronavirus

South Carolina Poultry Festival canceled

While the festival was originally supposed to happen at the beginning of May, officials felt it was necessary to cancel the event now. With so much uncertainty surrounded by the coronavirus situation, it's hard for staff to reschedule or add vendors when nobody knows what may happen next.

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. - Officials with the South Carolina Poultry Festival have made the difficult decision to cancel this year's event in the Batesburg-Leesville. Brent Shealy, the co-chair of the steering committee for the festival, says they've been thinking about this decision for the last week or so.

Safe Credit Unions in Camden and Lugoff

The decision to close lobby access at the Camden and Lugoff branches was announced by SAFE in response to a recent increase of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the Camden area.

CAMDEN, S.C. - Beginning March 19, transactions at SAFE Federal Credit Union's Camden and Lugoff branches will be limited to drive-throughs and ATMs only. The decision to close lobby access at the Camden and Lugoff branches was announced by SAFE in response to a recent increase of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the Camden area.

Set your DVRs for the 'Young and the Restless'

Credit: AP
(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

'Young and the Restless' will be shown tonight at 1:37 a.m.   Make sure to set your DVRs. 

 TruVista to offer free internet for 60 days to homes with students


TruVista is  60 days of free internet service to students and offering internet to new customers in homes with K-12 and Higher Education students.  They serve Fairfield county, Kershaw county and parts of Richland county. 

Credit: Tru Vista
Tru Vista

Dining on the Dam postponed

Credit: Dining on the Dam
Dining on the Dam

The Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center will postpone Dining On The Dam, originally scheduled for April 5, to October 25, 2020.

 Guests who will be unable to attend the event on its new date can receive a full refund by contacting the Chamber and Visitors Center at (803) 359-6113 or here 

Congaree National Park 

As of March 18, the Harry Hampton Visitor Center is closed and all programs are cancelled until further notice. Longleaf and Bluff Campgrounds will close at noon on Friday, March 20, 2020.  Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, park grounds remain open, including restrooms, all land and water trails, and the picnic shelter.

Park staff will continue to engage visitors via the park’s official website and social media sites:

City of Columbia Animal Services Changes

The animal shelter will no longer be open on Saturdays, and regular hours will remain on weekdays by appointment only. 

To schedule an appointment, call 803-776-7387.

West Columbia Police Department modifying operations 

The West Columbia Police Department will be keeping standard procedure for emergency calls involving crimes in progress, incidents threatening someone’s well-being or life, and in-person traffic accidents.

Because of COVID-19, there will be adjusted responses to non-emergency calls for service related to incidents that have already occurred. These will be handled by a telephone call from an officer instead of an in-person meeting.

According to the department, these changes reduce the risk to officers and the spread of germs. 

The non-emergency phone number for the Police Department is 803-794-0721.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Charleston's Cooper River Bridge Run postpones and offers options

You can choose to run on the rescheduled date of August 1 or participate in a "virtual" run.

FREE TO RUNNER'S AND WALKERS! You must wear your bib number to board buses. Shuttle buses will run to the start of the race from 4am-6am. Participants should be in line by 5am to guarantee a spot on the bus. Buses will return participants from 9am-12pm after the race.

Harvest Hope does curbside pickup

The charity is looking for both donations and volunteers who can help with the new curbside food service.  If you are interested in volunteering you can contact them here.

Gov McMaster orders ban on in-restaurant dining 

McMaster spoke Tuesday afternoon at the state's emergency operations center to address the virus outbreak and the state's response.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a series of orders for the state, including closing dine-in services at restaurants, prohibiting events of 50 people or more at publicly owned sites, and extending the deadline for state taxes as the number of cases of coronavirus grows.

Furman University to stay closed for students the entire Spring semester.    Remote instruction will continue through exams.

Furman University will be doing remote learning through the Spring semester. Furman University president Elizabeth Davis posted this on the university website: "As the situation with COVID-19 rapidly evolves, the university continues to make difficult decisions that allow us to maintain university operations and carry out our academic mission.

Night time reading in Sumter

Every evening at 7:30 PM  Superintendent Dr. Penelope Martin-Knox reads for her districts students on their YouTube channel. 

Midlands churches updates and changes to worship services

Many Midlands churches are modifying meeting and worship schedules to prevent the spread of the virus.  Here's a rundown of changes reported to us. 

As the country responds to the coronavirus (COVD-19), many cities and states have declared states of emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. After President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in the Palmetto State.

PGA cancels April golf tournament in Hilton Head 

The announcement was made as tournaments through May 10 were canceled. The RBC Heritage was scheduled to be played April 13-19.  

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The PGA has announced they are canceling Hilton Head's RBC Heritage golf tournament scheduled to be held in April due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement was made as tournaments through May 10 were canceled. The RBC Heritage was scheduled to be played April 13-19.

New rules for visitation in Columbia Housing senior high rise communities

Some resources from the South Carolina Department of Education

Lexington County updates it response to COVID-19

From the South Carolina Emergency Management Division 

 

Here are what some local restaurants are doing because of the virus

Listing includes restaurants that are closed and ones that are offering curbside pickup or delivery

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Springtime is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for restaurants, but the restaurant industry is facing a crisis period dealing with the effects of COVID-19. You're coming out of the year-end holidays, the weather is nice, summer vacations haven't begun and Mother's Day and spring formals and graduations are big business for dining establishments of all sizes.

Fort Jackson modifies some services, closes some services                     

All Fort Jackson schools are closed from March 16-31.  Local community
schools are providing instructions and resources to continue educating
through digital learning

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Fort Jackson is making changes to some of their services and operations on base due to safety concerns with the coronavirus. The following services will be changed as published until May 11, at whichtime they will reassessed.

 More details on RIchland One's food plans

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Officials with Richland School District One say the district will expand its efforts to provide meals to more students and families while schools are closed because of the coronavirus starting Wednesday, March 18. In addition to adding four more meal distribution sites, Richland One will use school buses to deliver meals to neighborhoods throughout the district.

6:57 p.m.  AME churches in South Carolina close 

6:01 p.m.  Take your time, South Carolina allowing a few more weeks to work on your taxes.  

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Revenue is giving taxpayers in the state more time to file their returns as they deal with the coronavirus outbreak. The decision was first announced at a n ews conference Tuesday, and further details came out a short time later.

5:33 p.m. PGA cancels the RBC Heritage golf tournament

The PGA TOUR has announced the cancellation of tournaments through May 10th including the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing scheduled for April 13-19, 2020.

 The PGA TOUR made the announcement today after a recently published statement from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending “for the next 8 weeks, organizers should cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”

 The Heritage Classic Foundation had hoped to provide our loyal fans, sponsors and volunteers a much-needed respite from the current climate.

 “We certainly feel this is the right decision to make for the health and safety of everyone,” said RBC Heritage Tournament Director Steve Wilmot. “We remained optimistic as long as we could knowing the event generates more than $3 million dollars a year for local charities and has a yearly economic impact of $102 million for the state of South Carolina.” 

5:12 p.m. 

CRC 911 to Modify Call Operations

 In an effort to protect our responders, citizens calling into the 911 center will be asked an additional line of questioning pertaining to the coronavirus.  Due to modified response plans, some non-emergency calls may be handled over the phone as a precautionary measure. Please be patient and understanding while we continue to work through this together.

5:02 p.m. Jimmy Buffett cancels concerts

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4:52 p.m  From SCDHEC

Prisma Health adds capacity for COVID-19 patients
Prisma Health North Greenville Hospital is transitioning to a dedicated facility for potential COVID-19 patients. Hospitals in the Midlands and Upstate will continue to care for coronavirus patients, but the dedicated facility will allow for additional capacity if needed. 

RELATED: Prisma Health adds capacity for COVID-19 patients at North Greenville Hospital

Kroger adjusting store hours, hiring new employees in SC

Stores in Georgia, Eastern Alabama and South Carolina will shift customer service hours to 8 a.m. through 9 p.m. Locations in those states are continuing to hire and those in industries hit hard by coronavirus are encouraged to apply at jobs.kroger.com

RELATED: Kroger adjusting store hours, hiring new employees in SC

'Young and the Restless' Air tonight

Credit: WLTX
'Young and the Restless'

SET YOUR DVRs: Tuesday's episode of the 'Young and the Restless' will be shown tonight at 1:37 a.m.. Today's program was pre-empted by President Trump's news conference. 

SEC cancels competitions for rest of 2019-20 athletic year 

SC Forestry Commission restricts access to State Forest offices and closing recreation facilities to put indefinitely

While the forests will remain open to the public for horseback, ATV, motorcycle and bicycle riding, recreational permits for these activities, including for parking at Harbison State Forest, are now only accessible online. Forest visitors can obtain their recreational permits at the following website

City of West Columbia modifies operations

The City of West Columbia will modify services until further notice because of COVID-19. 

  • Access to public buildings will be restricted, as necessary.
  • Customer Service building access will be restricted.
    • Payment will be accepted over the phone, online, by mail, drive-thru window, and drop-box at City Hall, 200 N. 12th Street, West Columbia, SC.
    • NO FEES for online and pay-by-phone credit card payments (westcolumbiasc.gov or 866-238-4103).
      • Fees do apply for in-person credit card payments at City Hall.
  • Business License renewals can be processed online or mailed in. Staff will then create a bill to be mailed or submitted back to the owner.
  • Permits, licensing, and payment assistance will be handled online, by phone, or by appointment only.
    • For new water/sewer service and water/sewer issues, call 803-791-1880
    • For the Building and Planning and Zoning Departments, call 803-939-3183
    • For Business Licensing, call 803-936-6285
  • Requests for water to be restored, payment arrangement, and delinquency procedures will be modified. Please call 803-791-1880 or go to the City of West Columbia website for more information.
  • City parks and community centers are closed until further notice, including all playground equipment, tennis courts, picnic shelters, and restroom facilities.
  • All events held in the New Brookland Room and the Community Center, through March 31, are canceled. Organizers will be notified.
    • For questions, call 803-936-6279.
  • Meeting Street Artisan Market opening is postponed.
    • For questions, call 803-936-6279.
  • Kinetic Derby Day is postponed until further notice.

Household garbage and recycling will be collected simultaneously, and must be inside of a roll cart. 

All court, including traffic court, schedules on March 26, April 2, and April 9 is canceled. 

Providence Health Updates Visitation House and Access Policies 

Providence will be limiting points of entry to acute car faculties. During the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., both Providence Health-Downtown and Providence Health-Northeast will limit entry to the main entrance and Emergency Department.

Overnight, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., entry to the facilities will be available through the Emergency Department only. Entry to the Providence Health-Fairfield facility will remain standard.

Screening will be required for everyone prior to entry at each point of access.

There are also visitor restrictions at facilities. 

  • Visitation hours are limited to 8am-6pm, with no overnight visitors allowed
  • Non-isolation patients will be limited to 1 visitor per day
  • No visitors will be permitted for patients in isolation
  • All visitors will receive armbands at the point of entry

South Carolina Senate to consider $45 million in emergency funding to fight virus

The South Carolina Senate will meet Tuesday to discuss an emergency $45 million spending bill for the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The additional spending, urged by Governor Henry McMaster, would be split among a variety of DHEC departments to try to stem the tide of coronavirus in the state.

RELATED: SC Senate to consider $45 million emergency funding bill for DHEC to fight virus

The South Carolina Museum to temporarily close

According to the South Carolina State Museum, taking into consideration guidelines set forth by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the State Museum has made the decision to temporarily close to the public in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). All upcoming museum programs, events and rentals through Sunday, April 5 are also canceled.

RELATED: South Carolina State Museum to close temporarily due to coronavirus

Monday, March 16, 2020

Newberry Hospital puts extra procedures into place 

9:48 p.m Kentucky Derby to be postponed till Labor Day 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - It's a historic change in what's already a historic time for our nation. Sources have confirmed to WHAS11 News the 146th runnings of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby will be moved to Labor Day weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic. The races will take place on Sept.

9:46 p.m.   'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' to suspend production.

8:20 p.m. Dollar General stores to make first hour shopping for seniors

Dollar General stores have announced their plans to dedicate the first hour of each shopping day to seniors. From their press release, "Beginning tomorrow, Dollar General is strongly encouraging that the first hour of operations each day be dedicated solely for the shopping needs of senior customers, who are one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

7:42 p.m.  From the town of Batesburg-Leesville 


6:41 p.m.  A note from California Dreaming

California Dreaming wanted to make sure and get the word out to the community that we will be offering free kids meals until further notice. 

Everyone should limit travel and contact but if you absolutely must leave home, we are still open. These can be trying economic times for some, and we want to provide for our guests as long as possible. Thank you for your continued support.

6:31 p.m.  USC updates plans due to coronavirus 

6:03 p.m. Harvest Hope needs volunteers

5:39 p.m. Columbia Museum of Art to close

The museum closing includes the Main Street gift shop and museum events and will extend at least to March 31.  

5:09 p.m. Comet updates cleaning practices 

Out of concern for the safety of the riding and general public, The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) has taken additional measures to prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  

· The COMET has increased the frequency of bio-clean disinfection of its fleet to nightly as well as augmented the cleaning of The COMET Central transit center to every 30 minutes.

Credit: COMET
COMET employee disinfects bus

· The COMET will suspend service of the downtown circular, The Soda Cap Connector buses and trolleys beginning, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17.

· All service will move from a normal schedule to a Saturday schedule beginning Thursday, March 19.

· DART services will still be available to those individuals needing paratransit. However, The COMET requests that appointments be limited to only essential travel (i.e., physician visits, pharmacy, grocery, etc.).

· The COMET also requests that any trips on fixed route service be limited to essential travel (work, medical, grocery, etc.), and that any passengers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms refrain from traveling on public transit.

4:14 p.m. Forest Acres Response 

All Public Meetings are canceled until further notice. This includes all boards, commissions, and foundations. Any Special Called City Council Meetings will be advertised on social media and sent to the media.

All payments for Court, Business Licenses, and Permits will be accepted at their respective locations. Social distancing measure have been put in place and we strongly encourage our customers to mail in their payments and applications.

Building Inspection Services will continue as normal.

All Municipal Court proceedings are postponed until after April 2, 2020.

Jam'n on Forest Concert scheduled for April 4, 2020 is canceled

Forest Acres Festival scheduled for April 25, 2020 is postponed/canceled. We will update this information as it becomes available.

  

3:55 p.m. City of Camden Response to COVID-19

All City facilities, excluding City Hall and the Camden Police Department headquarters, will be closed to the public until further notice. 

CAMDEN, S.C. - Due to the coronavirus the City of Camden is taking precautions to help prevent the spread in the community. All city facilities, excluding City Hall and the Camden Police Department headquarters, will be closed to the public until further notice Public access to City Hall will be restricted to the south entrance, nearest the Finance Department.

3:52 p.m. West Columbia City Operated parks closed to reduce potential                       COVID-19 exposure                                                                              In the interest of reducing potential exposure to COVID-19, City of West Columbia parks, community centers, playground equipment, tennis courts, picnic shelters, and restroom facilities are closed until further notice.

3:51 p.m. Keshaw County hotline 

3:42 p.m. SC Lottery Claims Center to close on Tuesday March 17. 2020 

As a precaution and to protect our players and employees from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the SC Education Lottery Claims Center will be closed until further notice. 

3:38 p.m. McLeod Health Locations Expand Visitation Restrictions                 To protect our patients, guests, and health care workers, all facilities within the McLeod Health organization will restrict visitation during this time of preparation and prevention efforts to protect against the coronavirus. 

Visitors will be limited to no more than one guest over the age of 18. 

Children under the age of 18 cannot visit at this time. 

We appreciate your cooperation in helping to minimize the number of symptom-free visitors to one per patient. All visitors exhibiting signs or symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose) will be asked not to visit patients at McLeod Health. 

RELATED: South Carolina High School League suspends spring sports  

3:10 p.m. Update from EdVenture                                                                    All EdVenture locations-Columbia, Hartsville and Myrtle Beach will be closed beginning Tuesday March 17, 2020.  This has been a very difficult decision but one we feel is in the best interest of public health. During our closure, we will be providing educational activities (through social media and our website) to help parents and caregivers continue to spark creativity and learning while their children are at home. We will also be using the time closed to rigorously and thoroughly clean our museums. We will continue to monitor recommendations by the CDC and SCDHEC as to when we will reopen. 

3:07 p.m. S.C. Arts Awards postponed because of COVID-19 concerns      The awards were scheduled for May 6, 2020 and are postponed until further notice.   From their email, "With the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and all the associated closings, leadership from the South Carolina Arts Commission and University of South Carolina McKissick Museum decided together that now is the time to postpone. Even in a best-case scenario regarding virus transmission, the work necessary to prepare for the awards festivities will be hampered by current schedule alterations and those that might still come. Further, absent a firm idea of when the festivities could realistically take place, the best thing to do is remove this uncertainty to focus instead on health and safety." 

12:33 p.m. Special Olympics of SC cancels games
Special Olympics South Carolina is canceling practices and competitions of any kind through the end of May. That includes their State Summer Games that are usually held at Fort Jackson in Columbia. 

12:26 p.m. Prisma Health offers limited drive-through COVID-19 testing
Prisma Health is offering limited drive-through COVID-19 testing beginning Monday, March 16. Testing is only for patients with electronic orders from their Prisma Health provider or from a Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider. 

RELATED: Prisma Health offering limited drive-through coronavirus testing

12:07 p.m. Lexington District Two Cancels School Board Meeting
The Board of Trustees of Lexington School District Two has cancelled their Regular Monthly Meeting on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Currently, the next Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

12:03 p.m. Richland One expands free meal options
In addition to providing breakfast & lunch pickups at 8 designated schools, meals will be delivered to Colony Apartments, Bayberry Mews Apts. & N. Pointe Estate Apts. Details HERE

RELATED: List: School meal programs in South Carolina due to coronavirus closings

11:44 a.m. DHEC reports South Carolina's first death from COVID-19 
The deceased patient death was an elderly person recently reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 who was a resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility.

RELATED: DHEC: First coronavirus death in South Carolina reported

11:43 a.m. Swansea Town Council Meeting Canceled
The Town of Swansea General Council Meeting for March 16,2020 at 6 p.m. been cancelled.

11:41 a.m. Governor makes statement on first COVID-149 death

RELATED: South Carolina governor reacts to first coronavirus death in South Carolina

11:41 a.m. City of Columbia Postpone Use of All Athletic Fields 
The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department announced that they will postpone the use of ALL athletic fields until further notice. In addition, they have postponed all sport leagues that use their fields. For more information, contact the Columbia Parks & Recreation Department at 803-545-3100.

11:38 a.m. Lexington restricts access to Town Hall
Lexington Town Hall has restricted public access to the building and will conduct business through alternate means for the next two weeks. Here's how you can still do your business with the Town.

RELATED: Lexington Town Hall restricts access due to coronavirus concerns

11:27 a.m. Harvest Hope Food Bank moves operations outside, calls for volunteers
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, Harvest Hope Food Bank will be moving its emergency food pantry services outdoors to aid in social distancing. Those in need of food assistance are asked to extend patience as they make this change.

To help with the shift outdoors, they are in need of crisis volunteers. Volunteers have to be at least 15 years old, will need to be able to lift up to 15 lbs., and be on their feet for at least two hours. Shift times will be 8:30-11.00 am and 11:00 am – 1:30 pm. Those interested in volunteering should sign up here.

11:04 a.m. Lexington two to provide free breakfast, lunch while schools are closed
Lexington Two will serve free breakfast and lunch weekdays, Monday through Friday, to any child in need while schools are closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Find details HERE

RELATED: As schools close, here is how districts are planning on feeding students

11:03 a.m. City of Columbia to Modify Operations Amid COVID-19 Pandemic 
The City of Columbia says it will modify services until further notice to protect citizens and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in the community.

RELATED: City of Columbia modifies operations amid coronavirus concerns

RELATED: Columbia fire and police departments modifying operations due to virus

Last week:

On Friday President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in the Palmetto State. 

On Sunday, Governor McMaster ordered a temporary closure of all public schools in South Carolina through March 30. 

RELATED: Governor closes South Carolina public schools, discourages gatherings of 100+ amid coronavirus concerns

RELATED: El Gobernador McMaster ordenó el cierre de las escuelas públicas de Carolina del Sur, y pide no hacer reuniones de más de 100 personas

The announcements come as the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) announced they are investigating an additional nine cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. This brings the total number of cases statewide to 28.

RELATED: DHEC investigating nine new cases of COVID-19 in SC