We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 2,200 new COVID cases reported
At least 674,403 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 10,386 have died in South Carolina since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 2,202 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, 603 more cases than reported the day before. The state also confirmed 39 coronavirus-related deaths, data show.
At least 2,325 people in the state were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday, including 551 patients being treated in intensive care units and 386 on ventilators.
As of Thursday, 12.4% 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.
Just over 51% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and nearly 60% have received at least one dose, according to health officials.
Lancaster County schools offer virtual learning amid COVID
Students in Lancaster County now have the option to learn from home, the Rock Hill Herald reported.
On Tuesday, the school district’s board of trustees voted to create a virtual option for the rest of the 2021-2022 school year after starting without one. The option is available to all K-12 students, but parents have to act fast. The enrollment deadline is this Friday, Sept. 24.
The Lancaster County School District will hire additional staff, including retired teachers, to teach online classes, district spokeswoman Michelle Craig told the Herald.
The change comes as the district, as well as others across the state, sees an uptick in coronavirus cases among students and staff members.
For more information, read the full story here.
Beaufort County schools see dip in COVID-19 cases, quarantines
COVID-19 cases among students and staff are on the decline in Beaufort County, according to an analysis of school district data reported by The Island Packet.
Quarantine numbers have also dipped, data show, falling to the lowest levels the Beaufort County School District has seen since students returned to class last month.
In the week of Sept. 13 to Sunday, BCSD reported 105 coronavirus cases among students and eight cases among staff members, the newspaper reported, citing district spokeswoman Candace Bruder. More than 1,400 students and 36 staff were quarantined during the same period.
Read the full analysis here.
Masks shouldn’t be a ‘political issue,’ SC teachers and nurses say
Teachers, pediatricians and school nurses across South Carolina are lending their voices to the push to repeal a controversial state provision that prevents schools from imposing mask requirements.
Several groups including the Palmetto State Teachers Association, South Carolina Association of School Nurses and South Carolina chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics gathered Tuesday to persuade state lawmakers to convene a special legislative session to lift the ban, The State reported.
“It is a concern of ours, it is a concern of our teachers, of our school administrators, of our school board members that these children are losing learning time again,” said Kathy Maness, executive director of the Palmetto State Teachers Association. “This mask issue does not need to be a political issue.”
The effort comes as the delta variant drives a surge in COVID-19 cases among school-aged children, some who are too young to be vaccinated against the virus. COVID spread has also forced hundreds of students, school faculty and staff members into quarantine.
“The General Assembly is not a super school board,” she said. “They need to leave that decision to local elected officials who know what’s best for their community so that our students can stay in the classroom, so they can continue to learn and our teachers can teach.”
Most Lexington parents in favor of mask rules, survey says
More than two-thirds of parents in the Lexington 1 school district said they would support a mask mandate to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in schools, The State reported, citing the results of a district-wide survey.
The questionnaire, which went out last week, asked parents and staff members their feelings on requiring face masks in school during times of “high community spread.”
“For months, we have heard from a small and vocal group of parents and staff on both sides of the mask debate,” school board chair Anne Marie Green wrote in an email to parents this week. “We wanted to know how our entire community truly felt about masking.”
A controversial provision passed by the state Legislature earlier this year bars local districts from imposing mask rules on students, despite surging COVID cases. Gov. Henry McMaster has also voiced opposition to requiring masks in schools, saying they impede students’ learning.
The Lexington 1 school board is scheduled to vote on the proposal Tuesday.
Read the full story here.
Myrtle Beach hospital ‘stands ready’ to vaccinate younger kids
After Pfizer-BioNTech’s announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine is effective in children ages 5-11, some Myrtle Beach area hospitals are already preparing for the roll out, according to The Sun News.
A spokesperson for Conway Medical Center said the hospital “stands ready” to inoculate younger children as soon as it gets the go ahead. Pfizer must still go through the emergency use authorization process via the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before vaccine providers can begin administering the shots.
Officials at Grand Strand Medical Center are also awaiting additional guidance, while McLeod Health is holding off on moving forward with a plan until the shot is approved for emergency use.
Rock Hill pharmacy awarded to aiding in state vaccination effort
A family-owned pharmacy in Rock Hill that helped administer more than 16,000 COVID-19 vaccines received a special shoutout from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Rock Hill Herald reported.
The agency recognized Good Pharmacy as a “community hero” for its effort to get residents vaccinated as coronavirus cases surge across the state. It’s the second Rock Hill-area pharmacy to be cheered by DHEC for aiding in the state’s vaccine push.
The pharmacy began giving the two-shot Moderna vaccine back in January.
“Some of our long-term customers actually volunteered to come in and help us with some of the paperwork,” Alton Hyatt, part owner of the pharmacy, told the Rock Hill Herald. “My sister and I could not have done this without the staff and the volunteers. We are committed to getting everyone vaccinated.”