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People lined up to get tested in rural pockets of the state this week as the tri-county area continues to experience COVID-19’s deadly impact.
Five of the nine South Carolinians whose deaths were announced Friday and attributed to the coronavirus were from the tri-county area. Three were Sumter County residents, and two were from Clarendon County, bringing the death toll to 16 and 33, respectively.
Clarendon County remains with the third-highest death toll in the state, only trailing Richland and Greenville counties, both of which are significantly larger in terms of population.
Clarendon also continues to see the highest rate of known infection in the state, though Lee County’s rate per 100,000 people has been catching up. Both counties hosted a mobile testing site this week as part of the state’s efforts to expand universal testing across the state, especially in rural and underserved communities.
CareSouth Carolina, which serves more than 39,000 patients in five counties in the Pee Dee region, is working with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to provide access to testing and education for patients across its communities.
They helped set up a testing site at Chappell Park in Bishopville on Friday. CareSouth Carolina CEO Ann Lewis said more than 505 people were tested for free.
Ten people from Lee County have died from the virus.
“CareSouth Carolina has had a presence in Bishopville since 1982, and the community means so much to us,” Lewis said. “It is important to know if you test positive for the coronavirus so that you won’t unknowingly spread it to others.”
DHEC’s initiative is to test anyone who wants, regardless of symptoms.
A site was also set up at St. Paul Elementary School in Summerton, which McLeod Health Clarendon staff helped run.