COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is sharing updated data that shows communities with mask requirement ordinances in place continue to see a slower rate of disease spread compared to communities without mask requirements.

On August 12, DHEC released the initial findings of its data analysis of the counties and municipalities that have implemented mask requirements for individuals when in public as a protection measure against COVID-19. DHEC issued a second mask analysis update on August 25. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division provides a map showing the counties and municipalities that currently have mask requirements in place, which is available on the home page of scemd.org.

“This updated data analysis continues to show that jurisdictions with a mask ordinance remain effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 when compared to those jurisdictions without an ordinance in place,” said Dr. Michael Kacka, DHEC Physician and Chief Medical Officer. “The data reinforces what we’ve already known: the proper wearing of masks helps stop the spread of this deadly virus.”

Updated data indicates:

  • Nearly 42 percent of residents, or approximately 2,100,000 South Carolinians, reside in jurisdictions that have local mask requirements in place.
  • For this most recent analysis, jurisdictions with a mask ordinance were categorized into week of initiation, meaning the week the ordinance took effect, with five weeks of mask ordinance initiations considered:
    • First week: June 23-June 29 
    • Second week: June 30-July 6
    • Third week: July 7-July 13
    • Fourth week: July 14-July 20
    • Fifth week: July 21-July 27
  • When comparing the jurisdictions that have mask requirements in place to those jurisdictions that don't, the jurisdictions with mask requirements have experienced a greater percent decrease in cases one month after their ordinance initiation, as follows:
    • First week: 66.5% greater decrease
    • Second week: 39.2% greater decrease
    • Third week: 6.1% greater decrease,
    • Fourth week 3.5% greater decrease
    • Fifth week: no greater percent decrease