It is admirable that Governor Henry McMaster has ordered the temporary closure of non-essential businesses amid the Covid-19 crisis. This action will ensure that people are not spending time in places that do not provide services to meet their basic needs. It is without question that organizations and buildings that provide food services, technology, health care and other essential needs should be the only places that are open at this time. However, due to the enormity of the issue and the uncertainty of the spread, there are still additional measures that need to be taken to save lives in South Carolina.
It cannot be stated enough that not being able to test is a major hindrance in our ability to deal with the spread. If we do not take these measures, more people will fall ill and unfortunately will die.Heather Bauer
There have been many reports that people are asymptomatic and are spreading the virus unknowingly. This is concerning as people are still not aware of who may be infected as they are being served and assisted by essential workers and as they are interacting with others. It is estimated that there will be approximately 8,000 in South Carolina by the end of April.
After speaking with the Department of Health and Environmental Services, private health companies, and many concerned citizens, House District 75 Candidate Heather Bauer challenges Governor McMaster to do take these bold steps:
1. Convene the General Assembly Virtually
2. Reinstate the State of Emergency
3. Issue universal testing and tracking In the 21st century the General Assembly ought to be able to convene virtually to continue making decisions to help South Carolinians during this crisis. Equally important, South Carolinians deserve their right to monitor the decisions that are being made in order to keep their elected officials accountable. The General Assembly also needs to convene in order to reinstate The State of Emergency since it has already expired. Lastly, universal testing and tracking is essential to decreasing the spread of cases.
We can learn from our international communities and national communities alike as they grapple with the disease. According to Business Insider, Germany is considering testing hundreds of thousands of people to ease the lockdown restrictions. It is also stated that Germany has one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world, which some experts and commentators have said is a result of the extensive testing.
Tracking at the level needed to stop the spread of the virus must be a top priority. SC DHEC is not currently tracking beyond zipcode for COVID-19 because they do not have the capacity to do so. The $45 million that has been approved by the legislature isn’t enough to combat this issue. This is yet another reason why the General Assembly needs to convene to release more funds from the $1.8 billion dollar surplus in the state’s budget. Heather Bauer stated that, “With my experience as a project manager, I will provide swift and comprehensive action everyday and not pass the responsibility to departments or municipalities that do not have the resources to meet the current need.”
It cannot be stated enough that not being able to test is a major hindrance in our ability to deal with the spread. If we do not take these measures, more people will fall ill and unfortunately will die. SC DHEC states the spread is not going to be at its worst until the end of April. There is an opportunity to change the course of this illness in South Carolina if we rise to the challenge and do what is right to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens through these turbulent times.