How we got on DHEC’s high-risk list
By Bobby Bryant
As the Darlington County school board assembled July 13 to decide on a plan for trying to reopen county schools, they learned an unfortunate fact: The state health department had just raised the county’s COVID-19 risk level.
For several weeks, Darlington County had been ranked as “medium” risk by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. That was based on its “incidence rate” of 51-200 new coronavirus cases in the prior two weeks per 100,000 people.
That “medium” rating gave school officials a little more assurance in planning for when, how and whether they could try to reopen Darlington County’s 25 public schools, shut down by Gov. Henry McMaster in March.
But last week, officials learned that the county’s “medium” risk level had slipped into “high.” It didn’t take much. The county’s “incidence rate” slipped into 206 new COVID-19 cases in the previous two weeks per 100,000 people. By DHEC’s measure, “high” is 201 or above.
No counties in South Carolina are now in the “low” zone for COVID-19, according to the map that DHEC maintains on its website. Forty-five are now in the “high” category. As of last week, only Marlboro County remained in the “medium” zone.