The coroner of Sumter County, where most of the dead lived, told the paper that all six likely contracted the illness from another attendee of the early March funeral.
“They attended that same funeral and unfortunately passed away from COVID ,” Baker said. “They came back to Sumter, got sick, and I was notified they had passed.
“Unfortunately, a large amount of people congregated at that funeral, somebody there was infected with it, spread it, and just didn’t know it,” Baker said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 16 — after the South Carolina funeral — issued new guidance to funeral directors, urging them to live stream services to comply with state and federal social distancing restrictions.
South Carolina had more than 3,600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 107 deaths from the disease as of Wednesday, the report said, citing the state health department.
About 90 percent of the state’s fatalities were people over the age of 61, the paper said.
African Americans, who make up 27 percent of the state’s population, account for 56 percent of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths.