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S.C. State breathing new life into camp; university could hold 1890 center’s grand opening soon

South Carolina State University’s Camp Harry E. Daniels was once a hub of activity, hosting 4-H campers, family reunions and corporate meetings.

It was closed 16 years ago, but new life has been breathed into the camp through a total revitalization effort.

Thanks to a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the university has constructed a new 1890 Research and Extension Center on the site.

The facility is nearing its opening with a ribbon-cutting targeted for the end of July.

Camp Harry Daniels is a 267-acre piece of property east of Elloree and within a stone's throw of Lake Marion.

The site’s 15,000-square-foot center includes research laboratories, a nutrition lab, training rooms, a community multipurpose meeting space, classrooms and a technology room equipped to deal with the latest technology like multimedia conferencing.

The building will house programs such as Small Farm, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Adult and Community Leadership, Family Life and Nutrition, 4-H and Youth Development and Community Education.

Columbia-based Tyler Construction Group was the general contractor for the project.

The site has internet access and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as access to municipal water from Elloree.

In addition to the new 1890 center, federal grants also helped pay for the renovation of the existing 10,000-square-foot conference center at the site.

The conference center has a large meeting area, dining facilities, a commercial kitchen and offices. It has been periodically used for various events, but the hope is that the fully operational center will regularly be a host site for corporate events and board retreats.

The 16 cabins, which can serve as lodging for those who use the camp, will also be updated and renovated.

The property also has a lake that can be used for recreational purposes such as fishing. Recreational facilities such as basketball courts are also going to be upgraded. There are plans to have a facility detailing the history of the camp.

The property was initially purchased by the community through fundraising efforts and deeded to the university. This has enabled the university to use 1890 funds to help with its upkeep.

Camp Harry Daniels, which opened in 1947, was discontinued as a 4-H camp in 1994 due in part to the poor condition of the cabins that were built in the 1940s.

In 2004, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control shut down the entire facility, including the conference center and its 16 cabins, because of water problems.

That problem was resolved in 2009 when a $320,000 federal grant paid to connect the camp to the Elloree water system.

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Roper St. Francis again calls off elective surgeries amid S.C. outbreak

COLUMBIA — A hospital system in South Carolina is suspending elective surgeries due to increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients that officials say are straining staff and other resources.

Effective Tuesday, officials with Roper St. Francis in Charleston said that procedures that aren't time-sensitive would be put on hold across its four facilities to free up staff for an "unrelenting flood" of patients needing treatment for COVID-19.

In all, 131 patients who had become ill after contracting the coronavirus were being treated at the hospital's facilities, representing more than a third of all of Roper's inpatient care.

Emergency surgeries will still be performed as needed, hospital officials said.

RMC to offer free COVID-19 testing

Regional Medical Center will be offering free COVID-19 testing in the rear parking lot to individuals in the community who believe they may have been exposed to the virus.

Earlier this year, Gov. Henry McMaster asked that elective surgeries be called off across the state for several weeks in an effort to keep hospital resources available for pandemic response if needed. Those procedures were allowed to begin anew this spring, but McMaster has said he could move to shut them down again statewide if needed.

RMC welcomes Duke radiation oncologists

Regional Medical Center (RMC) is pleased to announce M. Leann Smith, MD, and Daniel Oh, MD, PhD, have joined the Mabry Center for Cancer Care as Duke radiation oncologists to offer patients an array of advanced, evidence-based radiation oncology treatment options in Orangeburg and the surrounding communities.

The decision comes amid a resurgence of confirmed cases across South Carolina, where state officials said there had been 58,003 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Carolina as of Monday afternoon. Experts say official counts likely only capture a portion of those who have been infected.

At least 961 people in South Carolina who contracted the virus have died.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

As of Monday, there were 1,488 hospital beds in use by patients who have either tested positive or are suspected to have COVID-19, according to South Carolina's public health department, and 205 of those patients were on ventilators.

Last week, officials with the state hospital association said hospitals would likely have to implement a medical surge plan to add 3,000 more patient beds in places like hotels and gymnasiums, if South Carolina's coronavirus infection and hospitalization numbers continue rising at their current rates.

In an effort to make testing more available in the coastal area he represents, Lowcountry state Sen. Tom Davis wrote to state officials on Monday, asking that resources from two military installations in Beaufort County "be deployed to assist state and local officials with drive-thru testing."

Also Monday, the Palmetto State Teachers Association wrote to McMaster, asking that recommendations on how schools should approach a return to in-person instruction be clearly communicated to districts, and that state lawmakers "fully fund that which is required to keep everyone safe so that we might deliver an invigorating pedagogy in a stable environment."

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4 Orangeburg County residents, 1 Bamberg County resident die of coronavirus

Four more Orangeburg County residents have died of the coronavirus, according to figures released Monday by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

In addition, a Bamberg County resident has died of the coronavirus.

An additional 52 Orangeburg County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Fifteen additional Bamberg County residents have tested positive.

Ten more Calhoun County residents have tested positive.

Statewide, there are 1,532 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 13 additional confirmed deaths.

Twelve of the deaths occurred in elderly individuals from Charleston, Clarendon, Greenville, Lexington, Marion, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland and York counties, and one death occurred in a middle-aged individual from Bamberg County.

This brings the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 58,003 and confirmed deaths to 961.

Orangeburg County: 52 new cases, 1,225 total cases, 7,525 estimated cases and a total of 25 deaths.

Bamberg County: 15 new cases, 199 total cases, 1,222 estimated cases and a total of 3 deaths.

Calhoun County: 10 new cases, 165 total cases, 1,014 estimated cases and a total of one death and one probable death.

Here are the totals as of Monday for ZIP codes in The T&D Region:

• Bowman (29018) – 4 new cases, 39 total cases, 240 estimated cases

• Cope (29038) – 0 new cases, 23 total cases, 141 estimated cases

• Cordova (29039) – 1 new case, 38 total cases, 233 estimated cases

• Elloree (29047) – 3 new cases, 79 total cases, 485 estimated cases

• Eutawville (29048) – 3 new cases, 36 total cases, 221 estimated cases

• Holly Hill (29059) – 5 new cases, 70 total cases, 430 estimated cases

• Neeses (29107) – 1 new case, 30 total cases, 184 estimated cases

• North (29112) – 2 new cases, 81 total cases, 498 estimated cases

• Norway (29113) – 3 new cases, 16 total cases, 98 estimated cases

• Orangeburg (29115) – 16 new cases, 470 total cases, 2,887 estimated cases

• Orangeburg (29118) – 9 new cases, 193 total cases, 1,186 estimated cases

• Rowesville (29133) – 0 new cases, 13 total cases, 80 estimated cases

• Salley (29137) – 0 new cases, 21 total cases, 129 estimated cases

• Santee (29142) – 3 new cases, 85 total cases, 522 estimated cases

• Springfield (29146) – 0 new cases, 8 total cases, 49 estimated cases

• Vance (29163) – 1 new case, 29 total cases, 178 estimated cases

• Branchville (29432) – 0 new cases, 23 total cases, 141 estimated cases

• Bamberg (29003) – 12 new cases, 117 total cases, 719 estimated cases

• Denmark (29042) – 3 new cases, 60 total cases, 369 estimated cases

• Ehrhardt (29081) – 0 new cases, 13 total cases, 80 estimated cases

• Smoaks (29481) – 0 new cases, 48 total cases, 295 estimated cases

• Olar (29843) – 0 new cases, 4 total cases, 25 estimated cases

• Cameron (29030) – 1 new case, 38 total cases, 233 estimated cases

• Gaston (29053) – 8 new cases, 248 total cases, 1,523 estimated cases

• St. Matthews (29135) – 7 new cases, 107 total cases, 657 estimated cases

• Sandy Run (29160) – 0 new case, 66 total cases, 405 estimated cases

Estimated cases are based on evidence that for every known case of COVID-19, there could be up to nine people with the virus who remain unidentified in the community.

Some ZIP codes include people in more than one county. As examples, the Cope 29038 ZIP code includes portions of Orangeburg and Bamberg counties, the Orangeburg 29118 ZIP code extends into Calhoun County, and the Sandy Run ZIP code is in Lexington and Calhoun counties.

As new information is provided to DHEC, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 figures will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.

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Branchville, Bamberg to hold elections

Two elections postponed because of the coronavirus will be held today.

The Town of Branchville and the City of Bamberg were supposed to hold elections in the spring. Instead, they were delayed until today.

Branchville residents will fill the town council seat formerly held by the late Donny Connelly, who stepped down from the position due to health complications.

Candidates Tommy Connelly and Glenn Miller Sr. have filed for the seat. The seat has a remaining term of two years.

The polling locations will be Branchville High School and the community center.

The City of Bamberg will hold an election for the Bamberg City Council District 5 seat.

Wade Wise was the only candidate to file for the position.

The polling locations will be the Bamberg City Civic Center and the Kearse Agriculture Building.

All polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.