Week in Review
March 20, 2020
"We need to be calm and not lose our heads... and act like South Carolinians. We have not seen the end of this yet." Governor Henry McMaster during a press conference Thursday.
"There will be no expense spared in protecting the lives & safety of the citizens of South Carolina."
Chairman Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) on funding the state's response to the coronavirus.
"We are the government of the state of South Carolina. We have met through Civil War. We have met through depressions." Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) on the Senate meeting again during the pandemic.
"Come hell or high water, we're going to make sure state government stays open."
Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) ensuring a back-up budget is in place for the state to operate on.
PULLING FROM RESERVES
The Senate and House met this week to pass a bill (H. 4014) that authorizes additional funds to the Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) in response to the coronavirus. This allows $45 million to be pulled from the 2019-2020 Contingency Reserve Fund, making the balance $349 million. A breakdown of the immediately available funding to DHEC includes:
$14.6 million to provide additional staffing.
$14.8 million to provide personal protective equipment.
$5.2 million for operating costs & staff support (lab supplies, equipment, facility cleaning).
$2.5 million to fund an educational campaign.
$1.7 million to support indigent patients & quarantine efforts.
$1.4 million for transportation.
$5 million in unanticipated costs.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
124 Number of coronavirus cases in SC.
25 Number of counties in SC with at least one coronavirus case.
8 Number of representatives that sat in the balcony for social distancing purposes when the House met on Thursday.
3 Number of SC's largest colleges that will hold classes online for the rest of the semester & postpone commencement (USC, Clemson, College of Charleston).
55,000 Number of flights American Airlines is cutting in April, grounding 450 planes- nearly half of its fleet.
187 Miles of coastline in SC.
ADJOURNMENT & AVAILABLE RESOURCES
After the Senate met on Tuesday and the House met on Thursday, both bodies adjourned and it has not been determined when they will meet again. When they do, there are several loose ends to tie. Upon return, the legislature is tasked with finalizing the budget for FY 2020-2021, determining the pending outcome of Santee Cooper and the passage of an education bill. Stay tuned for updates.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to utilize the available resources provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay up-to-date. Below are links to sources for general information on the coronavirus, as well as information for businesses and healthcare professionals:
CDC - General Information on COVID-19
CDC - Information for Businesses
CDC - Information for Healthcare Professionals