Here is the latest South Carolina news from The Associated Press at 7:40 a.m.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina hospitals could have to implement medical surge plans to add thousands of additional beds as COVID-19 infection and hospitalization numbers keep rising. The state hospital association said Monday that hospitals will initiate a bed surge plan if statewide bed utilization reaches 80%. The utilization rate has at times exceeded 75% since the start of the pandemic. State health officials announced 1,505 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths Monday, following the holiday weekend. Some children’s hospitals have already begun to admit adults to help make room for COVID-19 and other patients.


MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) – Authorities said a South Carolina police sergeant was fired after he was found passed out in a department vehicle with a can of beer “between his legs.” Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie said Sgt. Matt Kinard was fired Friday after he was found intoxicated while on the job. Police responded to a call around 11:20 a.m. about a man passed out in a vehicle near the East Cooper Airport. Officers found Kinard asleep in a marked police SUV with an “open beer can between his legs.” Kinard was also charged with public intoxication. He was released with a courtesy summons. It’s unclear whether Kinard had an attorney.


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – More than 100 inmates have been infected with COVID-19 in a South Carolina prison where one inmate has already died from the disease caused by the coronavirus. The South Carolina Department of Corrections says 124 inmates at the Tyger River Correctional Institution have been diagnosed with the disease. That represents the largest outbreak throughout South Carolina’s prison system and about one-third of the 322 total infections reported among its inmate population as of Monday afternoon. Thus far, 146 staff members across the agency have reported testing positive for the virus.


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) – Authorities said a white South Carolina man was arrested and accused of sending racist messages to a black neighbor, who is a Black Lives Matter activist. The Spartanburg Herald Journal reports 47-year-old Christopher Brian Surratt was charged Friday with unlawful communication by telephone and second-degree harassment. The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said the neighbor told deputies he began receiving racially-charged messages from Surratt Friday evening. According to an arrest warrant, Surratt “threatened to kill” his neighbor and watch the neighbor’s home to cause him mental distress. It’s unclear whether Surratt had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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