The number of positive coronavirus cases in Abbeville County has nearly doubled in the past several weeks.
And at press time, it appeared to be on the way to tripling. As of Monday afternoon, Abbeville County had 106 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley reported what he said was the county's first COVID-related death (see related story).
Among Abbeville's neighboring counties, Anderson had 578 positive cases and 11 confirmed deaths.
Greenwood had 466 positive cases and six confirmed coronavirus-related deaths.
Laurens had 421 positive cases and five deaths, and McCormick had 15 confirmed positive cases and one coronavirus-related death.
Abbeville County's surge in cases is part of what appears to be a statewide phenomenon.
As of Monday afternoon, the state had 34,546 confirmed positive cases, and 717 coronavirus-related deaths.
A number of municipalities, such as Greenville and Columbia, have passed laws requiring everyone in grocery stores and pharmacies to wear masks or other face coverings to help contain the spread of the virus.
One state health official said in Friday's published reports that the coronavirus is spreading too fast to wait for cities and counties to pass their own rules on face coverings, and called on the state to take action.
South Carolina is hardly unique. Texas and Florida are among the states hardest-hit by the recent surge, affecting mainly the Sunbelt.
Hospitals in some states are experiencing, due to this new wave in the pandemic, a shortage of beds in their ICU departments.
Nationwide, some health officials have been saying that the next few weeks will be critical if the United States is to have any hope in containing the pandemic within its borders.