DHEC Logo (copy) (copy) (copy)

DHEC confirmed 27 new coronavirus cases in Aiken County on Tuesday, July 28.

Health authorities confirmed 27 new COVID-19 cases in Aiken County and another 1,546 cases across the rest of South Carolina on Tuesday.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control also confirmed 52 coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday. The deaths occurred between July 4 and July 27. Three of the victims were young adults, eight were middle-aged and the remaining 41 victims were elderly.

None of the victims were from Aiken County. DHEC is investigating four deaths in Aiken County for coronavirus, and 45 additional cases of illness for the possibility of infection.

Aiken Regional Medical Centers reported Tuesday that it has confirmed 441 cases of novel coronavirus in Aiken County. Of these 441 individuals, 28 are currently receiving care in the hospital and 14 have died.

Additional individuals have been tested for COVID-19 but test results have not been received yet, according to a news release from the hospital.

DHEC has resumed reporting hospital occupancy data after experiencing several days of difficulty with the new federal tracking system. As of July 28, about 77% of ICU beds in South Carolina hospitals are occupied.

There are 1,575 patients currently hospitalized for COVID-19 issues; 256 of those patients are on ventilators.  

According to a news release from DHEC, South Carolina is one of several states that is working with federal partners in an effort to "improve" TeleTracking, a private technology firm that is now responsible for collecting coronavirus data from hospitals.

The previous system, which was operated by the CDC, broke down hospital bed information by the type of care patients were receiving. This allowed hospitals to report the occupancy in hospital departments that provide direct care to those with COVID-19 or its affiliated symptoms.

However, under Teletracking, all available beds are reported as "one total number," according to DHEC – including pediatric beds, psychiatric beds and other areas that aren't available to treat patients with COVID-19.

As a result, states are attempting to tweak Teletracking's reporting structure to allow for more "accurate and actionable" data on hospital occupancy as it relates to coronavirus, according to DHEC.

Kristina Rackley is the health, education, and general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard. To support local journalism and access more articles, subscribe by clicking here