A pre-Christmas Covid Snapshot
76 COVID Fatalities in Laurens County, the latest: Dec 15, Elderly, 3 MORE TODAY; Laurens County infections are nearing 3,200 - SC: 24 deaths away from 5,000 just before Christmas - state senate will go back to session.
41 new cases, Laurens County (more than 3,100 total, 73 fatalities now); 506 new infections Greenville County, 382 new infections Spartanburg County - COVID SUNDAY, Dec. 20.
21,615 people have died with COVID-19 complications in a 3-state region (NC, SC and Georgia).
Winter Surge: 39,661 new infections statewide in the past 2 weeks. The Governor and First Lady tested negative on Monday, Dec. 14 prior to attending a White House Christmas event.
Governor Henry McMaster Tested Positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21.
Gov. McMaster is experiencing mild symptoms, isolating with the First Lady at home
COLUMBIA – After undergoing routine testing due to coming into close contact with the COVID-19 virus, Governor Henry McMaster was notified late Monday evening (Dec. 21) that he has tested positive for the virus. First Lady Peggy McMaster remains asymptomatic, while the governor is experiencing mild symptoms with a cough and slight fatigue.
Both remain in good spirits and Governor McMaster continues to work from the Governor’s Residence.
Following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) guidelines, the governor will isolate for the next 10 days and monitor for additional symptoms.
“Peggy and I urge everyone to be extra careful during the Christmas holiday season,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This virus spreads very easily.”
Based on advice from his personal physician, Governor McMaster will receive Monoclonal Antibody treatment today. The outpatient treatment is a preventive measure for those with mild to moderate symptoms and is readily available to the general public upon a physician’s order.
According to SCDHEC physicians, there is no way to pinpoint precisely when or how Governor McMaster or the First Lady contracted the virus.
According to CDC and SCDHEC guidelines, contact tracing is conducted for the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or 48 hours prior to an eventual positive test being conducted. The governor quarantined himself when he knew he was in close contact with the virus and sent Governor’s Residence staff home to quarantine and get tested to ensure their health and safety. Because the governor followed the guidelines and recommendations as a “close contact,” SCDHEC has determined there are no "close contacts" to the governor.
First Lady Peggy McMaster Tests Positive for COVID-19
COLUMBIA – After taking a precautionary, routine test on Thursday afternoon, First Lady Peggy McMaster was notified that she has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Governor Henry McMaster was also tested and the results were negative. The First Lady is not experiencing any symptoms at this time.
Following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), guidelines, the First Lady will isolate for the next 10 days and monitor for potential symptoms. Accordingly, Governor McMaster will follow official guidelines for “close contacts,” and will quarantine for the recommended seven days while being tested regularly. The governor will continue working from home until his quarantine period is over.
“I’m happy to say that Peggy is feeling well, isn’t experiencing any symptoms at this time and is in good spirits,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “This shows us, once again, how contagious this virus truly is and how important it is that we follow the advice and recommendations of our public health officials. We are working closely with SCDHEC to ensure that we follow all of the recommended guidelines and that Peggy’s close contacts are notified.”
The Governor and First Lady tested negative on Monday, Dec. 14 prior to attending a White House Christmas event and on Thursday, Dec. 10 prior to meeting with Vice President Mike Pence.
The First Lady is working with Dr. Brannon Traxler, SCDHEC interim public health director, to determine and notify any individuals with whom she was in close contact in the 48 hours prior to receiving the positive result. Members of the governor’s residence staff and security detail have been notified and are taking necessary precautions.
SC Senate Precautions
Harvey S. Peeler, President of the South Carolina Senate, has issued the following memo to members:
“The Senate cares about its members, employees, and the citizens of South Carolina who require that the General Assembly do the work of the 2021 legislative session safely and responsibly. To ensure we have a safe and healthy workplace, I have worked with the Clerk to develop the following Senate COVID-19 protocols to be followed when session begins in January. In addition, as President, I will not accept invitations on behalf of the Senate during January or February.
“The Senate COVID-19 protocols were developed in consultation with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The protocols require the participation and cooperation of everyone. The Clerk and Sergeant-At-Arms are responsible for supporting and implementing this plan in order to keep everyone safe. That being said, it is your responsibility to make sure you follow the protocols and self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
“MASKS & SOCIAL DISTANCING. All Senators have agreed to wear face coverings. Appropriate face coverings must be worn by all Senate employees. The CDC says cloth face coverings can prevent the wearer from spreading COVID-19 to others. Face coverings should be worn at all times in the Senate Chamber as well as meeting rooms, hallways, and other common spaces in the Gressette Building.
“Maintain proper social distancing at all times. Do not gather in close proximity to others in confined spaces, such as hallways and lobbies. Each elevator is limited to no more than three riders.
“Senate COVID-19 Safety Protocols TEMPERATURE CHECKS Touchless thermometers will be placed at each entrance to the Gressette Building. Everyone entering the building must check their temperature which must be below 100.4° to enter.
“COVID-19 TESTING & PROTOCOL Testing will be available for all members and Senate employees to identify those infected and help contain the spread of the virus.
“Any Senator or Senate employee who believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should inform the Clerk and take the appropriate precautions as recommended by DHEC and the CDC.
“SENATE COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS Please read over the attached COVID-19 safety protocols before entering the Gressette Building and do your part to keep the Senate safe and healthy.
“We will re-evaluate this plan as necessary. With the COVID-19 vaccine in the early stages of being distributed to those who need it most, we are getting close to the goal line. Until then, I ask that you follow these protocols for the safety and well-being of our entire Senate.”
SC Teacher Supply and Demand: Fewer Departures Overall, but More Early-Career Leavers; 700 Positions Still Vacant at the Beginning of 2020-21
Rock Hill – The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) has released its 2020-21 South Carolina (SC) Annual Educator Supply and Demand Report.
Approximately 6,000 teachers from 2019-20 did not return to teach in the same district for the 2020-21 school year. This is a 10% decrease compared to the number of departures reported last year. In the report, “teachers” include classroom-based certified educators as well as other certified educators who provide instructional/support services outside the classroom.
Although the number of departures decreased overall, early-career resignations were more prevalent this year with 42% who had five or fewer years of SC teaching experience and 16% with one year or less. The percentages reported last year were 36% and 13%, respectively. Of the first-year teachers hired for the 2019-20 school year, 36% did not return to a teaching/service position in the same district in 2020-21. This percentage is up from 28% last year.
Districts reported an increase of more than 140 vacant teaching/service positions for 2020-21 compared to last year. As of October/November this year, there were about 700 vacancies in SC public schools. With the growing impact of the pandemic, it was anticipated that districts would have more difficulty filling positions this year.
Results from this year’s Supply and Demand Survey may not fully reflect the effects of COVID-19 on schools and districts. Many teachers may have already signed their contracts for 2020-21 when the impact of the pandemic began to be felt, potentially deterring them from resigning.
Additionally, districts may have experienced more teacher departures after surveys were submitted. CERRA plans to survey district personnel directors in early 2021 to further assess how the pandemic is affecting their teacher recruitment and retention efforts.
COVID-19 SC recovery rate: 87.9% SC infection rate 18.1% -- Dec. 22, 2020.
Laurens County Treasurer’s and Auditor’s Office were closed because of the virus.
127 infections at Presbyterian College - CLINTON has almost 950 infections. The Winter Surge Is Here: 2,087 new confirmed cases in South Carolina Dec. 22. Hospitals across the nation are seeing record admissions with COVID-19/Coronavirus, especially in California -- 13,507 hospitalized in SC on Dec. 22.
Laurens County -- 3,174 infections
Clinton -- 942 infections
Laurens -- 1,106 infections
Neighboring Greenville County -- 32,846 infections; neighboring Spartanburg County -- 17,659.
SC -- 278,055 cases; 4,976 deaths, 13,507 hospitalizations, 3,370,118 tests; 87.9% recovery rate.
6,651 cases recorded in SC Schools --- The Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston reported Nov. 22 that there are/have been 230 COVID-19 cases at Whitten Center in Clinton - one of the highest infection rates in South Carolina - with comments from the SC Department of Disabilities & Special Needs.
SC deaths top 4,900;
10,399 deaths in Georgia;
6,240 deaths in North Carolina;
4,976 deaths in South Carolina - Dec. 22;
(278,055 cases in a state of 3 Million people).
Presbyterian College: 127 total cases, the last report was DEC 16 -- end of fall classes, Nov. 20; start of spring classes, Jan. 25.
THE PC TIMELINE:
Oct. 3: Commencement;
Oct. 5, 1 student case;
Oct. 6, 9;
Oct. 7, 17;
Oct. 8, 20;
Oct. 9, 27;
Oct. 10, 44;
Oct. 11, 49;
Oct. 12, 56;
Oct. 13, 57;
Oct. 14, 60;
Oct. 15, 55;
Oct. 16, 49;
Oct. 17, 35;
Oct. 18, 30;
Oct. 19, 28;
Oct. 20, 16;
Oct. 21, 6.
19 Employee cases - 5 active, Dec. 16.
Cumulative Student Cases:
21 -- Sept. 15, 2020.
100 -- Nov. 9, 2020
109 -- Dec. 16, 2020.
District 56: all classes to eLearning, Dec. 17 & 18, because of covid, strep and stomach virus.
13 covid infection notifications, letters dated:
Nov. 11 - Clinton High;
Nov. 10 - Clinton High, 2; and Clinton Middle
Nov. 8 - Clinton High
Nov. 2 - Clinton Middle
Oct. 6 - Clinton Middle
Oct. 13 - Clinton Elementary
Oct. 6 - Clinton Elementary
Sept. 29 - Clinton High
Sept. 29 - Clinton Middle
Sept. 21 - Clinton High
Sept. 20 - MS Bailey.
In United States:
18,563,748; 328,473 deaths; 10,839,872 recovered (Dec. 22 - worldometers.info). TEXAS 1st and CALIFORNIA 2nd are the states with more than 1 Million infections -- GEORGIA tops A Half Million Infections.
78,127,719; 1,718,112 deaths; 54,893,169 recovered (Dec. 21, worldometers.info).
Number 1 in cases: United States.
Number 2 in cases: India
Number 3 in cases: Brazil
12 other nations with more than 1 Million.
THE HOTELS CRISIS
AHLA, Hotels Applaud Rep. Patrick McHenry For Helping To Push COVID Economic Relief Package
WASHINGTON (December 22, 2020) – The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, on the coronavirus relief package.
“On behalf of the hotel industry, we applaud Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) for his leadership in fighting for our employees and small business operators to obtain this vital economic relief approved before the holiday break. Through his successful efforts, this legislation will now help thousands of our small business and franchise hotel operators keep their doors open and employees retained over the next few months.”
“The legislation contains many of the provisions AHLA has advocated for, including a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, increasing the size of PPP loans to 3.5 times payroll, and making PPP loan expenses tax-deductible. This will provide a critical lifeline for hotels and other businesses that have been decimated by the pandemic. Other hotel industry priorities include a one-year extension for Troubled Debt Restructuring (TDR) relief so that banks can continue working with borrowers to gain additional forbearance and debt relief, business meal deductibility through 2022, and expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit.
“We look forward to working with Congress and the new Administration on a longer-term stimulus package that will ensure our industry survives and is well positioned to help the country recover economically once the public health threat subsides.”
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry was the first industry impacted and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel. Learn more at www.ahla.com.