Coronavirus, News

Coronavirus: The latest local updates, cancellations, resources, + more

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Health + Hospitals

Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) has begun testing water samples from their Mauldin Road facility for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. ReWa is an early adopter of this testing technology across the nation. This testing is in the early stages, but ReWa intends to share this data with government agencies, public health groups, and more.

SCEMD have launched a new tool to help keep track of which local communities have mask ordinances. Click the link here to check it out.

On Monday, DHEC announced 718 new cases of coronavirus and 17 additional deaths in SC. That brings the total number of cases in SC of COVID-19 to 100,431, and the total deaths to 1,966. Visit SCDHEC’s website for full coronavirus data + stats. 

SCDHEC is encouraging all SC residents to respond to legitimate contact tracing calls + emails from public health officials, while remaining vigilant against scams. Legitimate contact tracing includes two components: case investigations and contact monitoring. If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer from DHEC will call you – and only ask you these questions.

Additionally, remaining aware of potential scam attempts is important. A contact tracer will never ask for your social security numbermoney, bank account or credit card number, or immigrant status. If you are concerned about whether a caller is a real DHEC official, verify their identity by asking them to send you an email (the address should end with @dhec.sc.govor calling the DHEC regional epidemiology office to confirm the caller’s name and credentials. Learn about reporting potential scams here.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System is offering free, no-order COVID-19 testing at its Spartanburg COVID-19 testing facility (the former Spartanburg Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealership at 1035 N. Church St.) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. For a complete list of COVID-19 test sites in SC, click here.

The guidelines previously recommended  for restaurants + other establishments attracting groups of people are now mandatory. A list of the now mandatory guidelines can be found here

Not sure if that wedding you’re supposed to go to next weekend is safe? Check out this interactive map from Georgia Tech + Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory. You can assess the risk levelestimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present” – for the event you’re considering attending by entering how many people will be there and where in the country it’s taking place. Try it here.

Milliken & Company is increasing its domestic production of the company’s advanced medical fabric – Milliken PerimeterTM. Milliken has distributed 10 million+ yards of reusable medical fabric to make personal protective equipment since March.

○ The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of products containing methanol (wood alcohol) – a substance that may be potentially fatal when ingested or absorbed through the skin – to 75 different hand sanitizers. Read more here. (WYFF 4) 

Having trouble getting your little ones to wear a mask? Check out these tips from Dr. Sarah McNemar at Parkside Pediatrics that might just do the trick. (FOX Carolina)  

○ SCDHEC launched a statewide campaign targeting youth + young adults to slow the spread of COVID-19. Officials say those between the ages of 21-30 account for 22% of confirmed cases, while those ages 11-20 account for 11% of confirmed cases. Learn more about the new “Mask Up” initiative here. (WCBD)

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 in SC, SCDHEC has created free, digital COVID-19 mask content that anyone can share on social media to encourage their friends + followers to wear a face covering in public. Social media posts, graphics, and videos can be found here.

Earlier this week, Mauldin City Council rejected a face covering ordinance. The ordinance would have required customers at grocery stores and pharmacies + employees at retail stores, food service establishments, and salons within city limits to wear face coverings.  (Greenville News) 

○ SCDHEC + SCLLR announced last week that nursing graduates have been granted temporary authorization to practice without taking the NCLEX licensing exam, so they can assist health care facilities facing staffing shortages because of COVID-19. (FOX Carolina)

○ The City of Travelers Rest passed a face mask ordinance that went into effect on Sat., July 18. The ordinance requires customers at grocery stores and pharmacies + employees of retail and food service establishments within city limits to wear face coverings. Read more here. (WSPA)

○ SCDHEC reported the first pediatric death associated with COVID-19. SCDHEC also confirmed the state’s first cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children associated with COVID-19.

DHEC has launched mobile COVID-19 testing clinics. The testing sites are popping up across the state and all screenings + specimen collections will be free as part of an effort to increase testing in rural and underserved communities in our state. Locations can be found here + are updated frequently.

The Blood Connection is now offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing for free. The test works by using a sample of the donor’s blood to test for COVID-19 antibodies and will be offered to blood donors at all TBC donation centers + mobiles across SC, NC, and GA. More information here.

A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site that is open to the public has opened in Greenville at Premier Medical Laboratory Services at 15 Commerce Center. The testing site will be open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, click here.

A few years back, an Upstate couple created an app called YoDoc to help patients communicate with both family members + doctors through pictures. Chandar, an ICU physician, and Renita, an engineer, are now receiving renewed attention for their app, as COVID-19 patients who are on ventilators have to find ways to communicate nonverbally. Read more here. (WYFF 4)

DHEC is promoting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) COVID-19 Communicative Technology grant opportunity, which “supports virtual communication devices for safely connecting nursing home residents with their loved ones during this time.” You can read more + nursing homes can apply for the technology grant here.

○ According to SCDHEC, South Carolina has recently seen a 966% increase in newly reported cases of coronavirus in people between the ages of 11 and 20 + a 413% increase in those aged 21 to 30.

Not sure when + where you need to wear a mask or face covering across the state of South Carolina? Check out this resource from WYFF 4 for all the details. (WYFF 4) 

○ A new test is being developed at MUSC that can predict how severe a patient’s COVID-19 case will be by taking a small amount of blood. Research is still in the works, but MUSC hopes it will be available for use in the next several months. (WCBD)

Uninsured South Carolina residents can now apply for reimbursement of COVID-19 testing through the SC Department of Health and Human Services Limited Benefit Program. To qualify the test must be conducted by a healthcare provider who accepts Healthy Connections Medicaid. Those who were tested after March 18 may also apply for reimbursement. (WIS)

Planning to utilize one of the drive-thru coronavirus testing sites? Here’s what you need to know before you go. (The State)

To help eliminate any potential financial barriers to treatment and care during this difficult time, Bon Secours is suspending all COVID-19 related billing. No upfront payments related to any COVID-19 screening, testing or treatment will be required at the time of the service. Click here to read the full statement from the Bon Secours Health System. Prisma Health has also suspended all COVID-19 related billing. (WYFF 4)

 

Shopping + Retailers

Black Friday will look different this year with some major retailers choosing to not open on Thanksgiving Day, including Walmart, Sam’s Club stores, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and more. You can read more here. (The State)

MarineMax Hall Marine Greenville says the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in record-setting boat sales for the business. A salesman for the company says they have sold 200 boats in five months (comparable to what they might normally sell in a year). (FOX Carolina) 

McDonald’s + Chipotle are among the latest national chains requiring customers to wear face coverings. Chipotle’s requirement went into effect on Friday, while customers will need to begin wearing face masks at McDonald’s starting Aug. 1. (WYFF 4)

Family Dollar + Dollar Tree are no longer requiring face masks inside their stores unless mandated by state or local rules. However, the stores still request that customers wear masks. (WCBD)

Ingles, BI-LO, and Aldi are the latest national stores to require face coverings. Aldi + BI-LO’s mask requirements go into effect next Mon., July 27 + Ingles’ requirement went into effect yesterday. (WYFF 4) 

Many national retailers are now requiring masks to enter their stores. Check out this list from WYFF 4 to see who’s requiring a mask and when. (WYFF 4)

Starting next Monday, Walmart + Sam’s Club will require masks in all stores nationwide. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer with over 5,000 stores and clubs across the United States. (USA Today)

Greenville’s Sunshine Cycle Shop the Upstate’s oldest locally owned bike shop – announced they will be closing after 24 years. The pandemic has cleared out most of the shop’s “bread and butter” bikes (think family, kids, and Swamp Rabbit bikes) leaving them debt free + owner Mike McMillan with the perfect exit opportunity. They will continue to sell through remaining bikes up to Aug. 28 (or until they clear all inventory) and take bikes for service for a limited time.

 

Colleges + Universities

Bob Jones University has announced they are postponing their August commencement. The university is taking survey feedback for a new date – potentially December 2020 or May 2021. (WSPA)

Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) has announced their plan for the fall term – TCTC Strong: Our Path Forward. Classes begin Aug. 17 and students will have eight different course delivery methods to choose from depending on their program and major. Most courses will have a combination of in-person + online learning. Read more here.

○ COVID-19 could end up costing Clemson University an estimated $135 million because of lost athletics revenue, lower fees for students, and expenses related to other mitigation efforts, but school officials say Clemson is “poised to weather the pandemic financially.” (The Post and Courier Greenville) 

Clemson University will start the fall semester on time but online. Classes start Aug. 19 but will be taught virtually until at least Sept. 21. Get more details on the decision here. (Greenville News) 

○ Yesterday, Furman University announced a phased plan for returning to campus this fall. Freshman and transfer students will move-in Aug. 12, seniors – Aug. 15-17, and sophomores + juniors – Sept. 11-13. Read more here.

Clemson University is providing drive-thru COVID-19 testing July 20-22 at the NewSpring Church at 13200 Clemson Blvd. for faculty and staff who already have returned or will be returning to campus in the next two weeks. Get more details here. (Greenville Journal)

Bob Jones University has announced new health safety protocols for the upcoming school year, including a partnership with Prisma Health. You can read more here.

Plans + requirements for returning students to Clemson University have been announced. All students + university employees will be required to wear face coverings in certain circumstances on campus + all students and employees will be required to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus in the fall. You can read more here. (WYFF 4)

Greenville Technical College has announced they plan to welcome students back to campus for the fall semester beginning August 24. Like many schools, Greenville Tech will also offer more online and hybrid classes for students in addition to traditional face-to-face instruction.

  Clemson University announced $25 million in refunds for students who cannot return to campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The prorated refunds will cover on-campus housing, dining plans and parking permits and are expected to be issued by the middle of April. (Fox Carolina)

Colleges and universities in S.C. will be getting several millions from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. To see the full rundown on how this $12.56 billion stimulus package will be distributed, click the link here. (Greenville Journal)

 

Schools

Anderson University is adding two new staff members to their team that are focused on health and safety. Joining the Anderson University staff are a student care coordinator and a contact tracing specialist, both key parts of the university’s campus reopening plan.

○ Gov. McMaster announced that the state of South Carolina will distribute $10 million in PPE to 70 of SC’s 81 school districts. Some of the items include almost 150,000 face shields11,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, and over 900,000 different types of masks.

Greenville County Schools has announced that to start off the school year, students will attend school one day a week, with the other four days being eLearning. This will continue to be the schedule until DHEC reports a change in the county-wide spread of COVID-19. (Greenville News)

100,000+. The number of households in SC that could be receiving mobile hotspots and monthly internet service. A portion of the federal CARES Act funding will help provide the free internet to these SC homes through December 2020. Read more here. (WYFF 4)

25. The number of South Carolina school district plans that have already been approved by the Department of Education. Greenville County’s plan approval depends on the district offering an in-person learning option by Sept. 14. (WYFF 4)

○ Greenville County Schools announced their preliminary number for their Virtual Program enrollment: 23,000. This number represents about one-third of the student population. GCS also released info. on optional LEAP (Learn Evaluate Analyze Prepare) days, which will be held Aug. 17-21. (WYFF 4)

The Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville + the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville are using different approaches when it comes to returning to school this fall. While the school in Hartsville has decided on an online only approach, the School for the Arts + Humanities is going to follow a “hybrid” plan. Read more on the plan here. (Herald-Journal)

The South Carolina Department of Education made some major announcements yesterday regarding busing for schools. Buses will be filled only to 50% of their normal maximum capacity, they will be filled from back to front, and all students and drivers will be expected to wear masks. (WYFF 4) 

Free + reduced price meals will be available for all eligible Greenville County Schools students regardless of what school attendance plan they choose to participate in this fall. The online application for free and reduced price meals is now available and can be found here.

○ Mobile hotspots + monthly internet access will be available to at least 100,000 SC families, through the end of this year, with priority given to households in counties with a school district having a poverty rate of at least 86%, as defined by the SC Department of Education. (WIS)

Greenville County Schools has announced their final back-to-school plan for the 2020-21 school year, pending approval by the SC Department of Education. LEAP (Learn Evaluate Analyze Prepare) days have been scheduled for the week of Aug. 17-21. (WYFF 4)

On Monday, Greenville County Schools opened two classrooms + a school bus for viewing at AJ Whittenberg Elementary that had been prepped for social distancing for the upcoming school year. See photos here. (Greenville News)

○ On Monday, Gov. Henry McMaster announced the creation of the Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants. Many South Carolinians, including an SC teachers association, two Senators, and a group of educators, have spoken out in opposition to the governor’s decision. (WYFF 4)

○ The South Carolina Band Directors Association announced that high school band championships (upper state, lower state + the state championship) have been cancelled for the 2020 season. Currently, a spring season is still a possibility. (The State)

○ Yesterday, Greenville County Schools announced a change to their in-person attendance schedule. When two days of in-person attendance is permitted, blue + green students will attend school on Mon. and Wed. and red + purple students will attend schools on Tues. and Thurs. All students will participate in eLearning on Friday and on days they are not learning in-person. Read more here

Gov. Henry McMaster announced the creation of the Safe Access to Flexible Education (SAFE) Grants this morning. Approximately 5,000 one-time grants of up to $6,500 will be awarded to subsidize tuition for eligible students at participating private, parochial, or independent schools in SC. (The State)

○ Greenville County Schools has adjusted the start date for the 2020-2021 school year. The date has been moved back a week from August 17 to August 24. The change was made primarily to reconfigure class rosters and allocate teachers in response to the 10,000 students who have enrolled in the district’s Virtual Program option. 

○ On Thursday, roughly 80 students + parents gathered in front of the Greenville County Schools district office to voice their support of in-person learning. Last week, State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman and Greenville County Schools Superintendent W. Burke Royster spoke out against Gov. McMaster’s announcement that SC children must have the option to return to school in-person this fall. (Greenville News)

The South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) executive committee has approved the league’s proposal to begin fall sports next month. Fall sports teams could begin practicing Aug. 17 with the first game of the season taking place Sept. 11. Learn more here(WIS)

In a press conference yesterday, Gov. Henry McMaster announced parents must have a choice to send their children back to school for in-person learning. Gov. McMaster also suggested schools consider Sept. 8 for the first day of class. Read more here. (Greenville News)

In response to Governor McMaster’s announcement, Greenville County Schools + Superintendent W. Burke Royster said they are “incredibly concerned.” Read more of the statement issued by the school district yesterday afternoon here(WYFF 4)

467,000 South Carolina students who qualified for free or reduced-priced lunch at school will be mailed an EBT card with the one-time payment of $330 to help cover the meals they did not receive since schools closed in mid-March. (The State)

Greenville County Schools has officially added a new full-time virtual learning option for students in grades 5K-12. This option will be different from eLearning in that students in the virtual program will have a normal daily instructional schedule as if they were learning in-person. Parents who want their children to participate must complete the application at the link here by July 27.

Greenville County Schools announced they will be suspending summer athletic practices until COVID-19 numbers decrease. They are also postponing Academic Recovery Camps until at least July 20. (WSPA)

Greenville County Schools has released the results of their parent survey on the reopening of schools. According to the results, 44% said they would send their kids back to school without a vaccine and 62.4% of parents support 100% eLearning between Thanksgiving + winter break. Check out more results here. (FOX Carolina)

Greenville County Schools will continue the suspension of summer athletic programs after SCDHEC released the latest COVID-19 spread data + Greenville ranked “high” in all three categories. Academic Recovery Camps will also continue to be postponed until July 20. GCS will continue to monitor + make adjustments based on new data released by SCDHEC weekly.

Yesterday, Greenville County Schools announced that a virtual option will now be available for children returning back to school in the fall. The GCS Virtual Program would follow a regular daily schedule just as students would as if they were still learning in person. Click the link here to read more. (WSPA)

Greenville County Schools continues expanding its Wi-Fi coverage across Greenville County. They are opening two new feeding/Wi-Fi sites plus provide Wi-Fi through school buses to 20 extra community locations. You can click the link here to see a map of all of the GCS Wi-Fi and feeding sites, continually updated as sites are added.

 

Reopenings

○ The Governor also will allow businesses, facilities, venues, events, and mass gatherings to open on Aug. 3, with restrictions, including theaters, stadiums, amphitheaters, gymnasiums, and more. To view the guidelines + restrictions for each type of facility, click here.

Greenville County water parks have reopened to the public with new safety measures in place. Some of these new measures include color-coded tape to ensure social distancing in lines, pool chairs spread six feet apart, sanitation stations throughout the water parks, and more. You can read more here. (Greenville Journal)

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate will reopen to the public on July 7. TCMU-Spartanburg will require timed tickets. Both locations are requiring staff to wear masks and all adult visitors are encouraged to do so as well. Click here for more information. 

The Greenville County Library System announced yesterday that the Hughes Main Library has reopened. Additionally, the Curbside Holds Pickup service has been expanded to all of the library branch locations. Hughes Main Library will be open for guests to use computers, browse books, and visits to the South Carolina Room by appointment. Masks will be required when entering the building and when getting assistance from library staff.

 

Cancellations + Event Announcements

 Myrtle Beach’s Carolina Country Music Fest has officially been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Darius Rucker, Luke Combs, Eric Church + Jake Owen, this year’s headliners, are said to be returning June of 2021(Post and Courier)

○ The South Carolina State Fair will look very different this year, as event organizers have announced the annual SC tradition is to become a free, two-day, drive-thru event. There will be no rides, but attendees will still be able to purchase some favorite fair foods. Get more details here. (The Post and Courier)

○ Yesterday, euphoria organizers announced a scaled back version of the 15th anniversary food, wine, and music festival. The festival will not be hosting many of their signature events which typically bring in 500-1200 people. Instead, euphoria will focus on hosting several smaller events – think lunches + guest chef dinners to be able to ensure proper social distancing. To view the current schedule, click here.   

Pique, Ten at the Top’s young professional event, has been postponed until 2021 because of COVID-19. The organization will hold monthly “Sneak Pique” virtual events leading up to the big in-person event next spring. For questions about ticket sales or refunds, contact Sharon Purvis via email.

○ The 43rd TD Bank Reedy River Run has been cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns. The Greenville Track Club will be contacting each participant via email with several options regarding their registration + refund. The 2021 race is scheduled for Sat., April 17 in downtown Greenville.

This year’s Bank of America Fall for Greenville festival has been cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns. The festival will now celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021Next year’s event is scheduled for October 8-10. (FOX Carolina)

Special Olympics South Carolina announced the cancellation of this year’s fall games, originally scheduled for October at Coastal Carolina University. (WIS)

 The Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire announced this year’s festival would be cancelled + would not be rescheduled. With the close of this “final chapter,” the organization also stated their website will remain up until June 27, 2021. If you paid for tickets or a booth fee, upon request made on or before July 31, 2020,” the Faire will be issuing refunds to your Paypal account less any processing fees. 

With the annual 10,000 person Indie Craft Parade no longer a viable option, their plan is to combine the festival with their Holiday Pop Up Shop to create a new shop version of the Indie Craft Parade. This new shop will run from September through December, and a series of outdoor mini markets will happen later this year.

This year’s Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale from the Greenville Literacy Association will be really online. More info on what that means here. They’ll still be needing volunteers, so if you’re interested in volunteering, click the link here.

The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel the 2020 Greer Family Fest, originally scheduled for Aug. 14-15, because of coronavirus concerns. 

Artisphere 2020 has been cancelled. The festival was originally rescheduled from May to August because of COVID-19, but organizers have made the decision to cancel the festival out of concern for the health and safety of artists and patrons. (WYFF 4)

Sippin’ in Simpsonville, originally scheduled for July 10, has been cancelled.

The Olympics have officially been rescheduled. The new dates for the Tokyo Olympics are July 23-August 8, 2021. (WYFF 4)

○ The Radio Room announced yesterday in an Instagram post that they will be canceling/postponing shows until at least mid-July.

 

Travel

○ The Bahamas recently announced a travel ban on US tourists traveling to the Islands. The official ban goes into effect today. “Any Americans still on the islands will be allowed to leave…under special accommodations.” (New York Post)

○ Last week, the state of New York issued an emergency health order stating that any travelers from high COVID-19 states, including South Carolina, must provide their contact information + quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or receive a $2,000 fine. (WLTX)

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport has installed two new PPE vending machines in high traffic areas of Concourse A and B. Some items travelers can purchase from the kiosks are face maskshand sanitizergloves, and other travel + health products.

○ Recently, the Cruise Lines International Association announced that cruise lines have voluntarily extended the no-sail order from US ports through September 15. Additionally, Carnival Cruise Line has extended its pause in services through September 30. (WCIV)

Government leaders are urging anyone who has visited a beach in South Carolina to get tested for COVID-19. While positive cases continue to increase, the likelihood of being exposed to the virus especially in a densely populated area, such as the beach, also rises. (The State)

New York, New Jersey + Connecticut will require everyone traveling from states with significant community spread of coronavirus — including SC — to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. (The News & Observer)

According to the U.S. Travel Association, S.C. visitor spending is down an estimated $268 million for the week ending April 11. That is an 87% drop compared to the same time last year. (U.S. Travel Association)

 

Sports

The Southern Conference announced yesterday that they are postponing all fall sports league competition because of COVID-19 concerns. You can read the official announcement here.

 The Big South Conference has decided to delay the fall sports season with hopes to play in the spring. Delayed sports include football, men’s + women’s cross countrysoccer, and volleyball(WYFF 4)

○ An 18-year-old from Greenville is receiving national attention after completing what he and friends call the #maskedmile challenge. The purpose of the challenge, created by Madhav Bhat, is to help encourage others in the community that masks can be safely + easily worn for a variety of activities(TODAY)

Augusta National Golf Club will not welcome any fans for the 2020 Mastersrescheduled for Nov. 9-15. This year’s ticket holders are guaranteed the same tickets for the 2021 tournament(The State)

Yesterday afternoon, the SEC announced that the 2020 football season will consist of 10 conference-only games for each team – meaning, Clemson won’t play UofSC for the first time in over 100 years. The season has also been postponed until Sept. 26. (The State)

○ Yesterday afternoon, the ACC announced new guidelines for fall sports. Teams will be able to start their seasons the week of September 7. Conference schools will play 11 football games – 10 against ACC opponents + one non-conference game. The non-conference game must be played in the ACC school’s home state and opponents must meet predetermined medical  requirements. Read more here. (WSPA)

Clemson University has released some of the results from a survey the school issued to IPTAY season ticket holders. Of those surveyed, 54% said they would prefer to have “fall football without fans”‘ over “spring football with fans.” You can see more results here. (WYFF 4)

The first game for Charlotte’s new MLS team has been delayed a year – from 2021 to 2022 – because of COVID-19. The club had already collected 8,000 ticket deposits, translating to 25,000 to 30,000 seats per game. (Forbes)

Late last week, the Carolina Panthers announced they will be reducing attendance at home games this year, but they did not say what the stadium’s new capacity will be. Fans who purchased single-game tickets for this season will be refunded, as those tickets are no longer available due to the new capacity restrictions. (WYFF 4)

Last week, Clemson University distributed a five to seven minute survey via email to IPTAY season ticket holders. The confidential responses were due by midnight yesterday + will be used by the university Athletic Department to help create a plan for the college football season(Greenville News)

Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have officially announced the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, which means the Greenville Drive’s 15th Anniversary Season has been cancelled.

 

Biz + Employment

South Carolina ranks #8 of states whose COVID-19-related unemployment claims are recovering the quickestAccording to a recent report, There are currently 17.8 million Americans unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in total. (WalletHub)

Two Greenville-based companiesCPT Medical + Hoowaki LLC – are working together to help combat the national shortage of coronavirus testing kits. The kits will be made here in Greenville and will be used by healthcare providers and labs nationwide. “Each specimen collection kit packaged by CPT Medical includes their VTM and the Hoowaki NP Collection Swab.”

○ Several cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Anderson County Historic Courthouse, causing it to close on Thursday. The courthouse will be closed until further notice. (WYFF 4)

Distilleries in South Carolina are seeking relief from the coronavirus pandemic. Scott Blackwell, co-owner of High Wire Distilling Co. + president of South Carolina Craft Distillers Guild, joined with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States to send a letter to the US Congress seeking assistance – including providing federal excise tax relief, suspending tariffs on distilled spirits, supporting the Restaurants Act, and expanding the Paycheck Protection Program + Economic Injury Disaster Loan. (WCSC)

Greenville’s Upcountry History Museum is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities CARES grant. These grants help aid museums in continuing their projects that were affected by COVID-19.

○ Over the weekend, local musicians performed virtually to benefit Greenville’s Radio Room. The performers hosted concerts on their Facebooks and Instagram pages and collected donations for Radio Room via GoFundMe. Other artists will be performing again this weekend. Read more here. (Greenville Journal)

○ A local translation service, Ivannovation, LLC, has created informational COVID-19 posters in multiple languages including Burmese, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. If you are interested in downloading these posters for your business, click here.

SC Works Greater Upstate will be hosting two virtual job fairs this week in partnership with the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce. Thursday’s job fair will be focused on hiring for technology + administrative professionals, and Friday’s fair will be geared towards those searching for work in the retail + food service industry. Register here(WSPA)

○ Over 16,000 people filed for unemployment between June 28 and July 4, raising the total number of SC claims above 650,000. With the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program ending on July 25, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce urges those who are unemployed to check if their local reemployment service facilities have reopened. (Columbia Business Report)

○ The SC Department of Employment and Workforce announced an extended benefits program for up to 10 weeks for individuals whose regular unemployment benefits ended on or after June 14. If approved, individuals can receive $600 in benefits from the federal government + “the same amount as their regular weekly unemployment insurance benefits.” (CRBR)

 

Other Announcements

According to SCDHEC, every SC county is currently experiencing high rates of coronavirus activity. You can read more here. (WYFF 4)

○ State Superintendent of Education Dr. Molly Spearman, State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell, and Michelin North America President and Chairman Alexis Garcin will join other state leaders in healthcare + education at Michelin’s North American Headquarters this morning at 10:30 a.m. to urge residents across South Carolina to follow state health and safety protocols, especially as our children and educators prepare for the upcoming school year.

At this time, Greater Greenville Sanitation (GGSD) will continue to suspend their recycling collection because of COVID-19 through July 31. If you are a GGSD customer, if recycling is placed at the curb, it will be collected + combined with any trash being picked up. Click here for a list of locations to drop off your recycling materials.

Last week, Governor McMaster announced Nephron Pharmaceuticals is working to expand operations in Lexington County. The company’s President + CEOLou Kennedy, said the first five million COVID-19 vaccines Nephron fills will go to South Carolina residents. (WIS)

The Columbia-based company ZVerse will be producing 100,000 face shields every day for schools nationwide + the service industry. The company says the shields are durable enough to survive the entire school year and can even be cleaned in the dishwasher(WIS)

In a press conference on Friday, Gov. McMaster announced that restaurants, bars, and breweries will not be able to sell alcohol after 11 p.m. each night. The executive order went into effect Saturday and does not apply to alcohol sold at convenience or grocery stores. (WYFF 4)

○ According to this tweet, Brewery 85 will be closing their taproom and putting a hold on any onsite meetings for ~1 month. Click the link here to watch their full July update.

As of now, the South Carolina State Fair will continue as scheduled, October 14-25, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Fair organizers say they are taking precautionary measures into consideration as they continue to make plans. (WCBD)

The Clemson Cooperative Extension Service’s Agribusiness Team has built a website designed to help those in our state’s agribusiness industry navigate COVID-19 challenges. Topics include Economic Impact Payment Information, cash flow issues related to COVID-19, and more. You can check out their new website here.

Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered DHEC to postpone allowing limited visitations in assisted living facilities + nursing homes. According to McMaster, this is to protect the older and at-risk residents living in these facilities, plus the workers caring for them. (WYFF 4)

○ UofSC’s Social Media Insights Lab has been monitoring coronavirus-related conversations in SC. You can view their list of reports at the link here.

○ AMC Theaters has postponed plans to reopen 450 of its 600+ movie theaters to July 30. Regal Theaters has also postponed its reopening date to July 31. Both chains will require moviegoers to wear masks when theatres reopen. (WIS)

○ Following a trip to Myrtle Beach, approximately 100 teenagers from the Washington, D.C. area have tested positive for coronavirus. (WYFF 4) 

○ If you live in the Midlands or Upstate of South Carolina + someone in your household has a disability, you may qualify for a free COVID-19 Sanitation Kit from Able SC. Some items in the kit include face masks, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and more. To get more information and sign-up, click here or call (803) 779-5121

Last week, Gov. Henry McMaster confirmed that theaters, night clubs, concert halls and spectator sport venues will stay closed as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Additionally, assisted living + nursing homes were permitted to allow limited visitation for immediate family members of residents. (CRBR)

The SC House has approved a plan to allocate the CARES Act federal funding the state received. The plan includes expanding broadband access across the state, COVID-19 testing, and rebuilding the unemployment trust fund. Roughly $600 million in funding will be saved for future COVID-19 response through the end of this year. The bill will need to be signed by the governor to go into effect. (WIS)

Last week, DHEC released a system that was established to determine Low, Medium, and High spread of COVID-19 to school superintendents statewide. This rating is based on the average of three categories for each county: two-week cumulative incidence rate, trend in incidence rate, and two-week percent positive rate. Greenville County is currently rated as “High” in all three categories, resulting in an overall rating of “High.” Read more here(WSPA)

 The economic repercussions of COVID-19 may cause a number of child care centers to close permanently. The Institute for Child Success surveyed 100 child care centers across SC in April. A third of them said they would not be able to survive a shutdown. According to this child care desert map, families in lower-income + rural areas in Greenville County have fewer child care options than those areas with higher median incomes in the city. Shutdowns because of the coronavirus could further increase this gap. (Greenville News)

Halls Chophouse is now requiring guests to wear a face mask when entering + exiting the restaurant. Employees have been wearing masks since the restaurant reopened in May.  (WYFF 4)

The City of Spartanburg’s new face mask ordinance went into effect yesterday. Masks will be required for anyone entering grocery stores or pharmacies within city limits + businesses must post signs informing shoppers of the new requirement. Employees at restaurantsretail + grocery storessalons, and pharmacies in the city are required to wear face coverings at all timesif they have any face-to-face interactions with the public. Those who fail to comply could be fined up to $25(WYFF 4)

ARCpoint Labs, the diagnostic testing lab franchise, has partnered with Ethos Laboratories to create a new test that measures protective immunity to COVID-19, called Tru-Immune. Tru-Immune can detect the presence + magnitude of neutralizing antibodies against the virus that may prevent future infection. Tru-Immune hasn’t been approved by the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization, but Ethos Laboratories has submitted data + statements to the FDA to be reviewed. It is currently being offered at select locations, including the Greenville ARCpoint Labs location.

○ In response to rising COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, the state has increased the testing goal found in the state’s testing plan to between 110,000 and 165,000 residents per month through the end of 2020. Click here for more information on testing locations.

○ Governor Henry McMaster announced a new initiative for the state’s restaurants called Palmetto Priority. Participating restaurants will be required to complete online training on + adhere to strict health and safety protocols. These restaurants will be provided with a decal with a Quick Response (QR) code customers can use to report any health and safety concerns or get more information. (FOX Carolina)

○ Several more restaurants in Greenville have temporarily closed because of employees or diners testing positive for COVID-19, including Bridge City Coffee, WhiteDuck Taco Shop, UP on the Roof, Smoke on the Water, and Maestro Bistro & Dinner Club. Jasmine Kitchen has also temporarily closed to protect the health and safety of employees + patrons but has not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among their staff. Click here for a list of more Greenville-area restaurants temporarily closing because of COVID-19. (WYFF 4)

SCDHEC has created a coloring + activity book titled “Why Can’t I” to help younger children better understand COVID-19. Click here to download the book in either English or Spanish.

UofSC has tentatively rescheduled an in-person graduation ceremony for spring and summer graduates for August 8. The ceremony will be held at Williams Brice Stadium, graduates will be allowed two guests + everyone will be required to wear a face mask. (The State)

○ After returning from a trip to Myrtle Beach, 14 high school students from Ohio have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, over 35 cases of coronavirus in West Virginia have been connected to the popular South Carolina vacation spot. (WYFF 4) 

○ The Greenville Chamber of Commerce is partnering with US&S to provide 100 small businesses in our area with 100 masks. Of the 10,000 masks being provided, 5,000 will go to minority and women-owned businesses. Businesses must have taken the Greater Greenville Pledge + have 10 employees or less to qualify. Click here for more information or to sign up for masks. 

Greer CPW will resume normal disconnections + late fees for nonpayment beginning July 1 after a four month reprieve to help customers during the coronavirus. For more information, click here. Customers who need financial assistance paying their bills can contact Greer Relief.

Last night, Greenville City Council passed a new emergency ordinance that requires all employees + customers at pharmacies and grocery stores within the City of Greenville to wear masks. Additionally, employees at all restaurants, retailers, salons + barber shops, and grocery stores within city limits will also be required to wear masks while having face-to-face interactions. This new ordinance goes into effect today at noon. Read more here. (WYFF 4)

○ Yesterday, SC Education Superintendent Molly Spearman released the final recommendations from AccelerateED for how public schools will reopen safely. However, Spearman stated that if SC continues to increase cases of COVID-19 that face to face learning will be “extremely difficult” + while the recommendations are for all of SC, there will be flexibility for local districts to make adjustments that work best for them. View the full report here. (WLTX)

DHEC announced that there has been an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in those under the age of 30. Officials reported that 4,160 of the 22,608 confirmed cases in SC are residents ages 21- 30, which accounts for ~18% of all confirmed cases in the state. (WIS)

○ Chapman Cultural Center + the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce have partnered to create a public art campaign for the county that encourages the use of face masks. How can you participate? By putting temporary face masks on eligible pieces of public art. You can find out which art pieces here.

The state of South Carolina is projected to lose a total of $278.4 million in state and local tax revenue as a result of low hotel and occupancy rates because of the pandemic. SC stands at 17th in the country for most revenue lost. (WCIV)

Venture Carolina is allowing all entrepreneurs in South Carolina to download its mental health app Sharpen Founder for free right now.  Venture Carolina’s Executive Director, Charlie Banks, notes that, “Even in the best of times, being a founder is incredibly hard work. In today’s trying times, entrepreneurs need every support they can get…” To download the Sharpen Founder app, click here.

Bob Jones University President Steve Pettit has announced BJU will open for in-person classes for the fall semester. Move-in day + orientation for on-campus students will begin on Aug. 21 + classes are slated to begin on Aug. 26. The university will hold commencement for over 600 students on Aug. 29, but in the meantime, their degrees have been mailed.

Catholic Charities of SC has launched Sister Hope, a free chat service for those dealing with stress and anxiety. The service is private and confidential + provides custom mental health help. Check out their Facebook page or text “hi” to (315) 276-3157 for immediate support.

The President signed a new $500 billion infusion of relief spending, to help support small businesses, banks + hospitals across the country. The bill passed Congress almost unanimously and allocates an additional $250 billion to replenish PPP loans, as well as $60 billion for additional small business disaster funds. (WRAL)

The CDC issued new guidance to help reduce the spread of coronavirus between people with pets. Recommendations include the following: do not let your pets interact with people not in your household, keep cats indoors if possible, and avoid dog parks. While domestic pets are not known to transmit coronavirus, there is a possibility that the virus can survive on animals’ fur for up to a few hours.

Crêpe Du Jour on Main Street in downtown Greenville, is listed as permanently closed + has filed for bankruptcy. Crepe Du Jour opened its doors in 2016 and made traditional French crepes, both savory + sweet. (Greenville News)

The TruColor Print Shop is celebrating the class of 2020 with a variety of banners + signs, either customized or from a template. Sallie Gold, TruColor President, will also be donating some of the graduation proceeds through the United Way of Greenville County to communities in Greenville impacted by COVID-19. For details, click the link here.

According to Mayor Knox White, local health officials in Greenville are working to develop an early warning testing system that will allow both health + government officials to keep an eye on any possible signs of resurgence. Positive tests in Greenville are currently around 10%, but the goal is to bring the number into the single digits. (FOX Carolina)

Farm Bureau Insurance announced that they are donating 200,000 meals to Harvest Hope Food Bank. Harvest Hope is currently reaching new highs, having served 50,000 individuals since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Farm Bureau has made a $2.3 million commitment to local food banks across the six states they operate in. To make a donation, click here.

○ Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris, is donating one million face masks to healthcare workers across the country, and 6,000 of those masks are being donated to Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital. (FOX Carolina)

The United Way of Greenville County is updating local volunteer opportunities daily on the Hands on Greenville website. Many of the opportunities are virtual and require no personal interaction. You can also donate to the United Way’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund here. 

Per the S.C. LLR, the deadline for renewing any licenses, registrations and/or permits set to expire between April and August has been extended to September 30. This decision involves the following boards: Barbers, Cosmetology, Contractors, Dentistry, Engineers and Surveyors, Environmental Certification, Funeral, Long Term Health Care, LP Gas, Manufactured Housing, Massage Therapy, Nursing, Pharmacy, Real Estate Appraisers, Real Estate Commission and Residential Builders. (Fox Carolina)

○ $53 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits have been paid out to ~64,000 South Carolinians by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. In the past four weeks, 266,000 unemployment claims have been processed in S.C. (The State)

Ridge Media + UNC Dental Student, Julie Driscoll, have put together a GoFundMe to support both local restaurants and healthcare workers. All donations made through the GoFundMe will go directly towards food orders from local spots to provide to hospitals treating COVID-19 cases. You can donate through the link here.

 

Schedule Changes

College and professional sporting events (CBS Sports)

South Carolina colleges and universities (WCSC)

Local events (WYFF 4)

Greenville County School District 

City of Greenville

Community Resources

United Way 211 (United Way)

Bilingual coronavirus related resources (Hispanic Alliance) 

COVID-19 Employer Resource Guide(Greenville Chamber)

COVID-19 Information for the Business Community (South Carolina Chamber) 

“Connecting our Community” resource page(City of Greenville)

COVID-19 Community Resources (LiveWell Greenville) 

COVID-19 Upstate SC Links to Information and Resources (Ten at the Top)

○ Kill Covid, Not Small Biz is a website that lists the ways local businesses are making their services + goods available during this time by modifying business operations.

Upstate Businesses Offering Take-Out & Special Services (iOnGreenville)

Takeout & Delivery Directory (Greenville On The Rise)  

Retail and restaurant closings, hours of operation updates in Greenville (Greenville Journal)

Greenville Food & Beverage (Visit Greenville SC) 

Information regarding free breakfasts + lunches for Greenville County students

COVID-19: Where to find food assistance (Kidding Around Greenville) 

Greenville Area Parks and Outdoors Updates (Visit Greenville SC)

United Way of Greenville County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund

U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage to college students who have been impacted by schedule changes. Find the location nearest you here.

○ Area grocery stores, including Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, Lowes Foods, Publix + Walmart are limiting operating hours to close earlier until further notice. Be sure to call your nearest store if you have questions about their hours or inventory + you can find more info here. (WCSC)

The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans for eligible small businesses to help mitigate losses due to the pandemic.

Health Care Resources

Anyone in South Carolina who has COVID-19-like symptoms can use MUSC Health’s Virtual Care system for free by using the promo code COVID19.

CDC Resources

World Health Organization Resources

Because many hospitals want to avoid having immunocompromised individuals near areas with higher COVID-19 exposure, Palmetto Infusion, an ambulatory infusion clinic, is receiving more referrals to help those living with acute + chronic illness by providing infusion treatments. Their Greenville center is located at 141 Halton Village Circle.

Bon Secours Health System is joining the FDA’s national Expanded Access Program to begin using convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is plasma that has been collected from those who have recovered from COVID-19. This is not the first time this method is being used – it has been used for Ebola, measles, polio + more. Those who have recovered and are symptom free after 28 days can donate their blood via The Blood Connection. Click here for more info. (Greenville Journal)

Community Conversations

Ways to support the local community

Restaurants offering curbside takeout + delivery

Local yoga studios offering virtual classes

○ Senior grocery shopping resources

How can GVLtoday best serve our community right now?

5 ways to support Greenville during the coronavirus

Quarantine date night

COVID-19 comfort poll