Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Columbia.


Swimming Advisory for Hilton Head Island Lifted

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control terminated a swimming advisory for a segment of the beach on Hilton Head Island on Thursday after high levels of bacteria were detected earlier this week.

Russell Berry of the DHEC's Lowcountry Environmental Quality Control office said in a release that bacteria levels "have returned to normal." As of Friday, normal activity can resume in the aforementioned area, the DHEC says.

Earlier in the week, the state had issued a swimming advisory for the area 200 feet above and below the southernmost community access near Lands End Ocean Resort.

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Stray Cat Tests Positive for Rabies in Greenville County

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is once again reminding residents to avoid wild animals or animals they don't know after a stray cat tested positive for rabies in Greenville County.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," Sandra Craig, from the DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services said.

About 275 South Carolinians receive preventative rabies treatments annually after exposure to the disease via bites and scratches from animals.

There were 124 cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina last year, and there have been 68 cases so far this year.

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College Basketball Coach Accused of Shoplifting from Kohl’s

(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) -- Police arrested two suspects, including the coach of a local women’s college basketball team, for allegedly stealing merchandise from a Spartanburg Kohl’s store.

Kaye Waldrep, 35, and 38-year-old Ricky Ponder were stopped by a loss prevention employee when they allegedly tried to leave the store with four bottles of perfume, two pairs of tennis shoes and a watch. Police said the two suspects were caught on surveillance video concealing the goods and later admitted to trying to steal the items. They are both charged with shoplifting.

Waldrep is listed on the school’s website as the basketball coach for Converse College. She is in her second year as coach.

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Officials: Drinking Water Not an Issue in Greenville Patient Infection 

(GREENVILLE, S.C.) -- The South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control addressed the bacterial infection affecting patients at Greenville Health System, saying Monday that the quality of Greenville's drinking water is not an issue.

The Health System is investigating cases of mycobacteria, with four deaths linked to the infection.

"Contamination of a sterile field with non-sterile water during invasive procedures may result in an infection of this type. Even at high levels, ingestion of mycobacterium abscessus is not typically a risk for infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)," DHEC representatives said in a statement.

Mycobacterium can be found in water and dust, and is an environmental contaminant. The best way to avoid exposure is to prevent non-sterile water contamination of medical equipment and supplies, officials added.

"DHEC has provided the hospital with a complete list of recommendations intended to help prevent this type of infection in the future, many of which have already been implemented," reps said.

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Police Searching for Hit-and-Run Suspect

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The Columbia Police Department is asking the public for help in identifying a vehicle involved in an alleged hit-and-run last week.

Authorities say on July 18, a driver hit the victim after an argument on Millwood Avenue.

Police released a photo of the suspected car believed to be involved in the incident via the department’s Twitter account.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact Columbia police at 803-545-3500.

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