Aug. 27—As COVID-19 case numbers have spiked across South Carolina, Aiken Regional Medical Centers has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients over the last month.
On July 29, the hospital had 17 patients afflicted with COVID-19 within its walls. As of Aug. 27, that number has more than doubled to 39. The hospital has also confirmed 21 COVID-19-related deaths within that timespan, as well as 209 COVID-19 cases.
As this spike has happened, more and more Aiken County residents have been getting tested for the virus. This influx of tests has led to many of the testing centers around the county being backed up, with residents forced to wait as long as they must for their turn. Visually, this flood of residents can be seen at the COVID-19 testing center at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, which frequently has long car lines.
Over the past seven days, 1,074 total cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Aiken County, along with four total deaths. The Palmetto State as a whole has reported 36,696 total cases and 271 total deaths during the past week.
State health officials have continued to extol the COVID-19 vaccine and ask residents to get the shot if they haven't already.
As of Aug. 26, almost 56% of eligible South Carolinians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while almost 47% are fully vaccinated. Aiken County's numbers are a bit lower, with around 49% of eligible county residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and almost 41% being fully vaccinated.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days or more after completing their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those aged 12 or older are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been approved for those aged 18 or older.
Residents who wish to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can visit vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov to find a location near them.
Rural Health Services is offering Pfizer vaccine clinics on each weekday during August from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the clinics will be at the Margaret J. Weston Community Health Center, located at 4645 Augusta Road in Beech Island. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the clinics will be held at the Clyburn Center for Primary Care at 1000 Clyburn Place in Aiken. Friday's clinics will be held at Family Health Care, located at 120 Darlington Drive in Aiken.
There will also be a clinic held Saturday at the Clyburn Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During September, the hospital will still offer the clinics with both, but the schedule slightly changes. On Wednesdays, the clinics will be at the Margaret J. Weston Community Health Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Thursdays, the clinics will be held at the Clyburn Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday's clinics will be held at Family Health Care-Podiatry, located at 4200 Whiskey Road in Aiken, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There will also be a clinic held Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Clyburn Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.