MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project Lancaster

COVID-19 Status Summary for the Lancaster metropolitan area (Lancaster and Chester Counties)

View information for the Florence area (Florence, Marion, Darlington, and Williamsburg Counties)

View information for the Charleston metropolitan area (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties)

Updated 9/23/2020 | About This Project

MUSC COVID-19 Situation Assessment

Indicator Key Metric Threshold Metrics Status as of September 23
Growth in Number of Reported COVID-19 Infections Sustained reduction in growth of reported infections for Lancaster region. GREEN – The 7-day average in growth of confirmed cases from day to day has been below 1%. GREEN: 0.6%
YELLOW – The 7-day average in growth of confirmed cases from day to day is 1-5%
RED – The 7-day average in growth of confirmed cases from day to day is greater than 5%.
Sustained reduction in new cases Downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period. GREEN -There is a negative slope of the trend line (downward trajectory) for number of daily cases for past 14-days. YELLOW: Increases in trajectory of new cases over past 7-days
YELLOW - There is a negative slope of the trend line (downward trajectory) for number of daily cases for the past 14-days, but not for the week prior.
RED – There is a positive slope of the trend line (upward trajectory) for number of daily cases for the 14-days.
Number of Reported COVID-19 Infections per 10,000 population per week Number of reported cases per week is manageable with regard to medical care and capacity for effective contract tracing GREEN – Number of reported cases per week less than 1 per 10,000 population.
(Population = 130,256: equivalent to 13 or fewer cases a week)
RED: 127 cases reported week of 9/14-9/20
YELLOW – Number of reported cases per week is 1-5 per 10,000 population.
(Population = 130,256: equivalent to 13 to 65 cases a week)
RED – Number of reported cases per week greater than 5 per 10,000 population.
(Population = 130,256: equivalent to greater than 65 cases a week)
Availability of Diagnostic Testing Diagnostic testing availability for all people with COVID-19 symptoms GREEN – 100% of those meeting criteria and seeking testing receive testing GREEN
YELLOW – 80%-99% of those meeting criteria and seeking testing receive testing
RED – Less than 80% of those meeting criteria and seeking testing receive testing
Speed of Diagnostic Testing in Returning Results Return of diagnostic test results is done in a timely manner and that allows for rapid contact tracing GREEN – Results returned within average of 2 days from sample collection GREEN
YELLOW – Results returned within average of 3-4 days from sample collection
RED – Results returned within average of 5 or more days from sample collection
Hospital Patient Care Area hospitals have ability to treat all patients requiring hospitalization without resorting to crisis standards GREEN – The number of COVID patients below 50% non-surge hospital and ICU bed capacity GREEN
YELLOW – The number of COVID patients is 50-70% non-surge hospital and ICU bed capacity
RED – The number of COVID patients is above 70% non-surge hospital and ICU bed capacity
Social Distancing Social distancing recommendations at a population level are being followed. (N.B. Baseline is set from pre-COVID timeframe) GREEN – Increased at least 25% from baseline, and 2-week average is stable or continuing to increase RED
YELLOW – 2-week trend reverting to baseline, and 2-week average is more than 25% of baseline
RED – 2-week trend reverting to baseline, and 2-week average is less than 25% of baseline
Identified super spreader events or cluster outbreaks Number of super spreader events or cluster outbreaks of significant magnitude (GT 10 cases in discrete social group or setting) in past two weeks. GREEN – None reported in past 2-weeks YELLOW
YELLOW – 1-2 reported in past two weeks
RED – 3+ reported in past two weeks
Infection & Contact Tracing Ability to trace and monitor reported contacts of new COVID-19 cases in a timely manner. GREEN – S.C. DHEC/State able to conduct contact tracing within 2 calendar days of report More info needed
YELLOW – S.C. DHEC/State able to conduct contact tracing within 3-5 calendar days of report
RED – S.C. DHEC/State able to conduct contact tracing within 6 or more calendar days of report

Key Findings

  • This week the 7-day average growth rate of new infections declined slightly to 0.6%, down from 1.0% in the prior week.
  • The recent surge in COVID-19 in the Lancaster area began approximately in the first week of June. Currently the area is experiencing 13 diagnosed COVID-19 patients per day for each 100,000 persons. This value was 17 per day per 100,000 population in the prior week.
  • The decline of COVID-19 transmission since the peak in early August is likely due primarily to behavioral prevention practices adopted by the community, such as wearing masks, distancing, avoiding crowds (especially indoors), and good hand hygiene.
  • There are an estimated 286 active infections who have been diagnosed by lab testing. The CDC estimates that up to 10 times the number of diagnosed cases go undiagnosed, yielding over 3,100 likely active cases combining diagnosed and undiagnosed.
  • There have been several cluster outbreaks reported by DHEC in the area in nursing homes.
  • Most of people undiagnosed will not be aware they carry the virus and can infect others. The risk of infection from people with no symptoms, or mild symptoms, is the greatest single threat to members of the community.
  • Concerted action should be taken to encourage the population to take precautions to avoid viral infection and transmission, and aggressive contact tracing should be implemented to contain the epidemic. Social distancing and mask use should be vigorously promoted or mandated. Large gatherings should be discouraged or prohibited.
  • The community is advised to develop an evidence-based risk mitigation plan and not deviate from that until there is a vaccine or effective treatment widely available. It is ill-advised to take more risks because of lower rates of COVID-19 in the community. There are a substantial number of infections circulating in the community, and rapid spread can occur before it is detected.
  • Scientific evidence is strong for the effectiveness of several risk mitigation behaviors: (1) wear a mask when around others, and avoid neck gaiters and vented masks, (2) keep a distance of no-less than 6-feet from others, more is better (3) avoid crowds, (4) wash hands frequently, (5) favor gathering with people outside over inside, and open windows (even a few inches helps) when feasible with others while inside, and (6) wear a mask and crack windows when you must travel with others in a vehicle.
  • There are currently few delays in getting appointments for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and results are being returned quickly.
  • The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has remained steady over the past several weeks at area hospitals. However, there remains a moderate number of hospitalized patients.

COVID-19 Projections for South Carolina

Modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) shows projections for South Carolina assuming full social distancing through May 2020.

COVID-19 Projections for the MUSC Lancaster Medical Center

We have developed a mathematical model that estimates the number of symptomatic cases, and number of patients seeking care at MUSC Lancaster Medical Center over time for the current wave of infections. Results are broken out by standard and ICU beds.