COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina hospital system is opting to suspend elective surgeries due to an increased number of COVID-19 patients straining staff and other resources. Effective Tuesday, officials with Roper St. Francis in Charleston said procedures that aren’t time-sensitive would be put on hold across at its four facilities to free up staff for an “unrelenting flood” of patients needing treatment for COVID-19. Earlier this year, elective surgeries were called off across the state in an effort to keep hospital resources available for pandemic response. Those procedures were allowed to begin anew this spring, but Gov. Henry McMaster has said he could opt to shut them down again statewide if needed.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s first known sea turtle nest of the summer has hatched. The Department of Natural Resources says volunteers on Kiawah Island early Saturday morning discovered dozens of tiny sea turtle tracks leading from the beach to the ocean. DNR sea turtle biologist Michelle Pate says the nest was laid on May 6 and incubated for 66 days. About halfway through this year’s nesting season, officials say they’ve counted about 4,200 sea turtle nests on South Carolina’s beaches.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Police in South Carolina have identified the man accused of pointing a gun at “Black Lives Matter” protesters as he drove past the State House. Walter Peter Matulis Jr. was arrested and charged Saturday with pointing and presenting a firearm at a person. Two groups of protesters were outside the Capitol Friday on the fifth anniversary of the Confederate flag’s removal from the grounds. Counter-protesters said a driver told demonstrators “All Lives Matter” before pointing a gun at them and driving away. Columbia police investigated video of this and arrested the 64-year-old Matulis at his home. It’s unclear whether the man has an attorney.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s coronavirus case count continues to climb with the state reporting an additional 1,950 confirmed cases Sunday, after adding a single-day high of more than 2,200 cases a day earlier. State health officials say a spike in cases in being driven in part by young people. There have been more than 56,400 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Carolina, according to data from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Experts say official counts likely only capture a fraction of those who’ve been infected. At least 950 people in South Carolina who contracted the virus have died.