South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he will not lift restrictions on nightclubs, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums, spectator sports and other venues until Covid-19 is under control in the state.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we've got to follow the rules," McMaster said at a news conference. "This is a dangerous, deadly disease, you've got to follow the rules. Wear your mask."
He said that a majority of the new cases are among people under 40, particularly those age 30 to 35.
"They feel completely healthy yet they can be completely infected," McMaster said.
Rates of infection for that age group are "just going up, up, up," he said.
Despite the higher case counts, McMaster said that he will not mandate the use of masks.
"We cannot mandate. It is ineffective. It is impractical to have a mandate and everyone wear a mask because it is not enforceable and for me to tell us that we're going to require people to wear a mask, and then not be able to enforce it gives a false sense of security to those who believe that everybody is following the rules," McMaster said.
The numbers: South Carolina on Friday reported the highest number of people hospitalized in the state, Director of Public Health Dr. Joan Duwve said at the news conference.
There are currently 906 people hospitalized with complications from coronavirus, the largest number the state has seen, Duwve said.
At least 1,273 new cases were reported Friday, bringing the total to at least 30,263 cases and 694 deaths statewide, Duwve said.
Hospitals are currently at 75% capacity, South Carolina National Guard Adjutant General Major General Van McCarty said at the news conference.
He said if hospitals reach 80% capacity statewide, they will deploy the surge plan. McCarty added that they will reduce elective surgeries if needed to help with capacity.
"Our preference would be to keep patients in a traditional hospital. We will look to use the alternative measures we've talked about as only a second measure," McCarty said.