We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 1,600 new cases reported
At least 512,440 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 8,741 have died in South Carolina since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Tuesday reported 1,651 new COVID-19 cases, 143 more than were reported the previous day. The state also reported two new coronavirus-related deaths.
At least 729 people in the state were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Monday, according to the latest available data, with 196 patients in the ICU.
As of Tuesday, 19.71% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.
Roughly 45% of South Carolina residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and about 52% have received at least one dose, health officials say.
Masks in schools? It’s possible, Columbia mayor says
Coronavirus cases are ticking in the wrong direction across South Carolina, and Columbia’s mayor said he’ll order the city’s students to wear masks in school if things continue to worsen, according to The State.
Mayor Steve Benjamin made the remarks during a Columbia City Council meeting Tuesday, adding that a state of emergency may be necessary if COVID-19 cases continue rising. Mask rules could make a comeback for local students, he said, despite Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order barring local governments from imposing coronavirus restrictions.
Addressing the issue, Benjamin said, “I don’t believe state law is as prescriptive as some people think.”
Myrtle Beach sees ‘eerie’ spike in COVID hospitalizations
The Myrtle Beach area is seeing a dramatic spike in coronavirus-related hospital stays, and doctors say it’s younger, unvaccinated residents who are driving it, The Sun News reported.
“It’s kind of eerie, how much the numbers, our internal tracking, look almost like it did a year ago,” Dr. Paul Richardson, chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center, told the newspaper.
Of the hospital’s 30 COVID-19 patients, 22 are unvaccinated, according to a hospital spokesperson. McLeod Health is also reporting a rise in inpatient coronavirus cases, mere weeks after logging days with no COVID-19 patients.
“Today we’re almost at our peak from 2020,” Dr. Matthew Weeks, chief medical officer for McLeod Loris Seacoast, told The Sun News.
Read the full story here.