White House: South Carolina in COVID-19 ‘red zone;’ Mask orders, gym & bar closures needed

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White House: South Carolina in COVID-19 ‘red zone;’ Mask orders, gym & bar closures needed

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — An internal White House Coronavirus Task Force document recommends more than a dozen “red zone” states, including South Carolina, should implement stronger protective measures to battle COVID-19.

The July 14th report, obtained by the non-profit Center for Public Integrity, says the states with the worst spread of the coronavirus should take action by limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, closing bars and gyms, and asking residents to wear masks at all times.

The so-called “red zone” states are those with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people reported in the last two weeks. The White House Coronavirus Task Force identifies 18 such states.

Additionally, the internal report places 11 states in a “red zone” for the highest rate of positive COVID-19 tests. It applies to states that report 10% or higher positive COVID-19 tests each day.

South Carolina, with over 10,000 new cases last week and a 20% positive rate in testing, is listed in both red zones.

Additionally, the White House report includes data broken down by county and metropolitan area.

Twelve South Carolina counties, including Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and Beaufort in the Lowcountry, are considered “red zones” within the state.

Many South Carolina municipalities have instated mask requirements for public places, and a statewide order restricting alcohol sales at bars and restaurant after 11 p.m. has been in place for a week.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has declined to issue a statewide order for citizens to wear mask, saying such a mandate would be unenforceable on a large scale.

McMaster also has resisted calls to reinstate orders for businesses such as bars and gyms to close again, citing constitutional limits on his authority to restrict business operations.

You can read the White House report on South Carolina embedded in the document viewer at the bottom of the page, or CLICK HERE to read it.

For the full report, visit the Center for Public Integrity’s website. The document containing the report was obtained by the CPI, and was first reported by that organization’s Liz Essley White.

The Center for Public Integrity operates as a non-profit investigative news agency providing watchdog and government accountability reporting.

The White House guidance and “hot spot” information had been shared within the federal government, but does not appear to have been released publicly prior to the CPI’s report.

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