MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project

COVID-19 Status Summary for the Charleston metropolitan area (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties)

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

View information for the Lancaster metropolitan area (Lancaster and Chester Counties)

Updated 12/04/2020 | About This Project

 

MUSC COVID-19 Situation Assessment: 

Note: Metrics shown reflect the day events occurred, not the day they were reported. There is typically a one-day lag in the release of data from DHEC on newly diagnosed cases.

Indicator Key Metric Threshold Metrics Status as of December 4th
Growth in Number of Reported COVID-19 Infections

* This metric was changed on Nov 25, 2020. Earlier we used a denominator of all cases since the inception of epidemic. The revised metric is now more sensitive to current trends than before. 
Weekly change of reported infections for Tri-county region (Percentage change in 7-day average of new infections over the past week).
 
 
GREEN – The percent change in the 7-day average in growth of confirmed cases over the past week is 1% or less (or negative). YELLOW: +2%
(As of Dec. 3rd 2020)

*This metric is changed daily, while the remaining metrics are updated weekly.
 
YELLOW – The percent change in the 7-day average in growth of confirmed cases over the past week is 2-5%.
RED – The percent change in the 7-day average in growth of confirmed cases over the past week is 6% or greater. 
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) of the daily 7-day average of number of cases for each of the past two-weeks. YELLOW: There is a negative slope of the trend line (downward trajectory) of the daily 7-day average of number of cases for one of the past two weeks (one week positive, one week negative).
YELLOW -There is a negative slope of the trend line (downward trajectory) of the daily 7-day average of number of cases for one of the past two weeks (one week positive, one week negative).
RED – There is a positive slope of the trend line (upward trajectory) of the daily 7-day average of number of cases for each of the past two-weeks.
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 = 775,831: equivalent to 78 or fewer cases a week)
RED: 971 new cases reported last 7 days
(Nov. 22nd-29th)


YELLOW – Number of reported cases per week is 1-5 per 10,000 population 
(Population = 775,831: equivalent to 78 to 388 cases a week)
RED – Number of reported cases per week greater than 5 per 10,000 population
(Population = 775,831: equivalent to greater than 388 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
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 30 days. GREEN – None reported in past 30 days RED:(Multiple Nursing Home Outbreaks Reported by DHEC)
YELLOW – 1-2 reported in past 30 days
RED – 3+ reported in past 30 days

Key Findings

 

  • GROWTH RATE OF CASES – This week the 7-day average of new infections increased 23% since the prior week. While the number of cases per day is moderate, this rate of growth is a concern.
  • CASES PER DAY - The current number of infections diagnosed each day for every 100,000 people (7-day rolling average) is 17.9. One week ago, this value was 14.5.
  • NUMBER OF INFECTIONS PER WEEK - There remains a moderate number of infections being diagnosed this week with 971 cases in the past week. In the prior week there were 790 cases diagnosed.
  • NUMBER OF ACTIVE CASES - There are an estimated 1,761 active infections who have been diagnosed by lab testing. These people can infect other people This is up minimally from 1,681 in the last weekly report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 10 times the number of diagnosed cases go undiagnosed, yielding over 19,000 active cases in our area combining diagnosed and undiagnosed.
  • RISK FROM ASYMPTOMATIC CASES - Most undiagnosed people who are infected will not be aware they carry the virus and can infect others. The time between becoming infected and having symptoms averages 5-days, and this is a period when a person is typically highly infectious. The risk of infection from people with no symptoms, or mild symptoms, is the greatest single threat to members of the community. Do no assume that a lack of symptoms in people you encounter means that they cannot transmit the COVID-19 virus to you.
  • PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS - Concerted action should be taken to encourage the population to take precautions to avoid viral infection and transmission. Social distancing and mask use should be vigorously promoted or mandated. Large gatherings should be discouraged or prohibited. These policies and practices are helping to keep the epidemic in check and removing them could lead to a rapid rebounding of infections.
  • NATIONAL SITUATION ASSESSMENT – Across large areas of the United States there is a significant surge in COVID-19 cases being diagnosed. There was a large surge that occurred in the upper Mid-West, Plains States, and Mountain West over the past month. In the past week the rate of increase has stabilized, but at a high level. This past week other areas of the country, notably in states on the west coast (CA, OR, WA), and the northeast (VA, PA, DE, WV, NY, DC) are experiencing a high growth in cases. In the southeast, Mississippi is also experiencing a rapid growth in cases. These simultaneous outbreaks coupled with the already high transmission areas of large sections of the US are causing shortages of hospital beds, protective equipment, and especially medical staff in affected areas. The number of deaths from COVID-19 is also now increasing substantially.
  • NEED FOR VIGILANCE IN RISK REDUCTION - 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, or in your social network. There are a substantial number of infections circulating in the community, and rapid spread can occur before it is detected.
  • EVIDENCE-BASED PREVENTION STRATEGIES - 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. 
  • RISK FROM INDOOR CONTACT - There is growing evidence that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 is occurring via aerosols. Aerosols are very small liquid particles that are breathed out when people speak, and they can float in the air like smoke for hours. Loud talking, singing, and heavy breathing from exercise generate a significant volume of aerosol particles. As a result, indoor gatherings are risky, especially when turnover of the air is infrequent. Aerosol transmission can occur at much greater distances than 6-feet. People should assume that there is no safe distance from others indoors in poorly ventilated rooms.
  • POTENTIAL RISK WITH COLDER WEATHER - There is growing concern that with winter weather there will be surges in SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infections experienced throughout the United States. The upcoming holiday season also will promote many indoor gatherings. In locations in the US and Europe now having cooler weather there have been experiencing dramatic increases in transmission.
  • TESTING CAPACITY - There are currently few delays in getting appointments for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and results are being returned quickly. An exception is prior to holidays. If you plan to be tested prior to holidays be aware that delays in getting appointments and return of results may occur.
  • HOSPITAL CAPACITY - The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has been low over the past month at area hospitals which are well capacitated to manage the case load of COVID-19 admissions.

COVID-19 Projections for South Carolina

Modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) shows projections for South Carolina.

COVID-19 Projections for the MUSC University Hospital

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

Graph showing the number of symptomatic cases of COVID-19 per week