ROCK HILL, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported that 16,620 people tested positive for COVID-19 over the three-day Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, the state saw 6,085 new cases, the highest number reported in a single day since January.
Some parents of children in schools where masks aren’t mandatory are concerned these higher case numbers from the holiday weekend could impact children.
In Aiken County, where the school system confirmed that two students who tested positive for COVID-19 had died, parents worry about the spread of the virus.
“I feel like she’s just a sitting duck like I’m just sending her in there, waiting to get COVID,” Aiken County mother of two Joy Ellenberger told WRDW.
In Aiken County, like in almost all South Carolina counties, masks in schools are optional. The CDC says students exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days, with some options to shorten the quarantine to 10 or even seven days if they meet certain criteria.
But quarantine and isolation rules vary by the school district in South Carolina, and local leaders continue to dispute mask mandates.
GENETWORx, a company that runs a testing site at the Winthrop Coliseum in Rock Hill, said last week, kids accounted for 30-40% of everyone getting tested at the site. The company said it’s prepared for more people to get tested.
“As soon as we noticed the numbers start to increase as much as they did, we added an additional tent and two more lanes,” Kimberly Locklear with GENETWORx said. “We also doubled the staff.”
One month ago, the positivity rate at the Winthrop Coliseum testing site was 11.8%, said Locklear. In the last seven days, that number went up to 12.29%.
“We’re taking it day by day, and we if see that it continues to grow, we’re going to add more staff as well as increase the tents,” Locklear said.
Those in need of a COVID-19 test in the Rock Hill area can register to get tested at the site online.