We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 8,000 new COVID-19 cases in SC
At least 976,704 coronavirus cases have been reported in South Carolina, and at least 12,966 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday, Jan. 19, reported 8,440 new COVID-19 cases and nine coronavirus-related deaths. There were also 2,304 probable cases and five probable deaths, data shows.
The omicron variant accounted for 100% of coronavirus strains identified in South Carolina during the week that ended Jan. 8.
At least 2,322 people in the state were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 19, including 393 patients being treated in intensive care units and 206 on ventilators. About 25% of hospitalizations in South Carolina are coronavirus-related, data shows.
As of Jan. 19, roughly 33% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.
Nearly 53% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and almost 62% have received at least one dose.
Having trouble ordering your free COVID test? Here’s what could be going on
A website giving Americans access to 500 million free rapid at-home COVID-19 tests ordered by the federal government went live on Tuesday, Jan. 18. But some people are running into technical issues.
Last month, President Joe Biden laid out the government’s plans to purchase 1 billion tests to be made available for free as the highly contagious omicron variant drives new COVID-19 cases. The first 500 million are available to order on COVIDtests.gov.
With the launch has come a few hiccups, including an error message that claims “tests have already been ordered.”
The U.S. Postal Service, which is working with the Biden administration to deliver the tests, says there could be several reasons you’re having trouble ordering a test.
To find out more, read the full story here.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade ‘still a go’ in Savannah amid COVID surge
The city of Savannah, Georgia, will move forward with plans to hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in March, despite a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases, The Island Packet reported.
Mayor Van Johnson announced plans for the yearly celebration during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 18.
“We might have to make some modifications in light of what we’re dealing with, it might be less units, it might be a slightly different route, but right now we’re still a-go,” Johnson said of the parade, which has been canceled the last two years due to the pandemic.
Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest in the nation, according to The Island Packet, drawing a half a million people to the city for the weekend festivities. However, coronavirus infections are trending higher than they were in previous years when the parade was canceled.
Local officials are keeping an eye on the virus numbers, Johnson said, and expect them to improve.
“It appears that in some areas now the numbers are plateauing and they’re expected to rapidly go down,” he said.
Another Midlands school district goes virtual as omicron spreads
Lexington County District 3 is the latest Midlands school district to shift to virtual learning as the highly infectious omicron variant drives a surge in coronavirus cases, according to The State.
Students will learn from home starting Tuesday, Jan. 18, with virtual classes continuing through the end of the week, the newspaper reported, citing district officials. The switch happened in response to “a critical spread of COVID-19 at all schools among students and faculty and an inability to adequately staff schools and continue face-to-face instruction.”
Students might return to in-person classes on Jan. 24, but a decision won’t be announced until later in the week, according to officials.
Read the full story here.