Storm cleanup during COVID-19

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Columbia, S.C. – As cleanup efforts continue after Monday’s severe storm, it’s important to keep yourself safe from COVID-19. 

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control recommend following the guidelines: 

  • Wear protective clothing and eye protection during clean-up, including hard hats, face mask, goggles, heavy work gloves, sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves or coveralls and headphones if working with loud equipment.
  • It’s often much safer to clean up with other people. Do your best to maintain social distancing.
  • Take frequent breaks to stay hydrated and to wash your hands.
  • Wipe the outside of work gloves with an antibacterial wipe or a cloth soaked in disinfectant.
  • Use a small towel to wipe away sweat while you work to avoid touching your face with your hands.
  • When cleaning up after a disaster, be careful of cuts and wounds. To prevent infection, including tetanus, clean all cuts and wounds with soap and clean water, use antibiotic ointment, and cover.
  • When removing your protective wear, remember to clean your gloves before removing your goggles and face mask.
  • Clean the outside of your gloves again before removing them to prevent cross-contamination. 

A list of local disaster relief organizations can be found on the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website at You can also find out how to volunteer and donate to relief efforts.

Damage assessments continue in all affected counties. As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, survey teams with the National Weather Service have confirmed at least 20 tornadoes occurred throughout the state Monday. Ongoing damage assessments conducted by SCEMD and county emergency managers have determined at least 1,478 homes in 22 counties sustained some type of damage. Of those, 206 homes have major damage and 147 were destroyed. As damage assessments continue, the number of homes affected will change.

Residents should report property damage to state and local emergency managers using the damage assessment tool in the SC Emergency Manager mobile app in the Apple App Store ( and on Google Play (