“Take it easy. Don’t panic. You don’t need to stock up on anything, except maybe hand sanitizer,” said Gov. Henry McMaster, right, at a press conference to address concerns and prevention of coronavirus

Gov. Henry McMaster urged South Carolinians to wash their hands Monday morning in an effort to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the state. 

McMaster and DHEC officials said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina. As of Thursday night, S.C. DHEC has the necessary materials to test for the disease in Columbia instead of sending samples to Atlanta, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are located.  

“Similarly to the CDC, our testing turnaround is 24 to 48 hours. Most times it’s quicker than that,” said Nick Davidson, director of public health at DHEC. “We have the capacity to test up to approximately 100 a day, and we are nowhere near that.”

Dr. Brannon Traxler, medical consultant for the Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology for DHEC, said the best way to prevent the spread of this disease is to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, Traxler urged people to disinfect hard surfaces, cover their coughs and stay home when they’re sick.

McMaster was encouraged by the fact that this virus is not airborne and said, “It might be the easiest virus in the world to kill, with just warm water and soap.”

DHEC officials discouraged the public from buying masks in order to save them for healthcare workers or those who may actually be sick. 

DHEC is following the CDC’s guide for monitoring travel and quarantining patients if South Carolina is to see a confirmed case. 

“We prepare on a daily basis for diseases such as this,” said Traxler.

Deputy Director of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Nick Davidson said businesses are prepared to adjust their buying patterns in order to prevent coronavirus from affecting the state’s economy.

“Because a lot of these parts come from Asia, come from China, there are plans being made to address it,” said McMaster.

Bundy said no companies have shut down because of the disease yet, but some companies in other states are actually finding new suppliers in South Carolina manufacturers because of coronavirus.

“If I could quote the group The Eagles, I would say ‘take it easy,’” said McMaster. “Don’t get all excited. This is not a hurricane, this is not a flood, it’s like the flu.”

DHEC officials and Gov. McMaster use hand sanitizer after a press conference explaining coronavirus prevention.