Tag Archives: Department of Health and Environmental Control

Commerce approves hundreds of large-crowd events amid Covid outbreak

February 12, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Since Gov. Henry McMaster in August gave the state Department of Commerce – which isn’t a public health agency – the authority to allow large-crowd events in South Carolina amid the coronavirus outbreak, the agency has approved more than 1,300 applications, records show. Through Thursday morning, Commerce approved 1,345, or 90%, of […]

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Health agency slowly spending Covid money

January 27, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A state House proposal would send an additional $63 million out of state surplus funds to the Department of Health and Environmental Control to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations and continue testing statewide. But DHEC has spent only about 60% of the $45 million in state surplus funds awarded to the agency last […]

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Governor punts health-related powers to Commerce – again

August 5, 2020

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster has once again granted the S.C. Department of Commerce – which isn’t a public health agency – the power to make health-related decisions in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. Last week, McMaster announced that “gatherings,” defined in his executive order as a “planned or spontaneous […]

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State agencies issue millions in emergency purchase orders amid covid outbreak

May 29, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Transportation initially wanted more than $1 million worth of hand sanitizer. The state Department of Administration requested 1,500 laptop computers and related equipment totaling nearly $468,000. The Department of Employment and Workforce sought an out-of-state technology firm with a reduced annual “subscription fee” of $74,371 for its services. […]

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State health agency spending relatively little from emergency covid funds

May 15, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Since lawmakers in March approved $45 million in emergency funding for the state health department’s response to the coronavirus, the agency has spent less than 10 percent of the total, records show. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control through April listed a total of about $3.9 million in expenditures, with […]

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State agency can order quarantine of COVID-19 victims

May 6, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Among the provisions in Gov. Henry McMaster’s emergency orders is one allowing the state health department to confine people infected with the coronavirus in their homes or other private or public places. Although the provision hasn’t been enforced to date, it’s part of the 2002 Emergency Health Powers Act (EHPA). Those who […]

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Closed SC businesses in covid’s wake: Protecting public health?

April 17, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Having customers in his Columbia glass art shop posed no public threat, if you ask Tom Lockart of One Eared Cow Glass. Yet after Gov. Henry McMaster put the S.C. Department of Commerce in charge of deciding what businesses are allowed to stay open or which must close when “clarification” requests are […]

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McMaster’s ‘non-essential’ list: A hole-in-one for SC golfers – and others

April 7, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Last Tuesday, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered that “non-essential” businesses statewide be closed to the public to combat the spread of the coronavirus, though he included some pretty big loopholes. Take golfing, for example. His “non-essential” list includes various “recreational and athletic facilities,” such as fitness centers, though sports that “involve interaction” of […]

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S.C. lawmakers pressed to find money for coronavirus response

March 17, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When lawmakers return this week to debate how to pay for the state’s emergency coronavirus response, they will have to decide where exactly to get the money. In a letter Thursday to House and Senate leaders, Gov. Henry McMaster requested that lawmakers provide the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) […]

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Little-known S.C. panel regularly OKs requests to release sensitive information

December 14, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT For at least two years, a few members of an obscure state panel have routinely approved requests by public- and private-sector researchers for sensitive information contained in a massive health “data warehouse,” records reviewed by The Nerve show. The medical records database, managed by the state Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) Office, […]

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