Positive COVID rates jump sharply across South Carolina over holiday weekend, DHEC says

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Compiling a week's worth of data, South Carolina' Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 15,967 new cases of COVID-19 alongside a sharp increase in the percentage of positive cases.

DHEC released several days of data on Wednesday after taking a reporting break for the Christmas holiday. From Dec. 22 through Dec. 27, there were a total of 10,994 confirmed cases, 4,973 probable cases and 56 deaths, three of which were probable.

Testing increases: COVID-19 omicron variant surges, long testing lines in Upstate after the Christmas weekend

The percent positive rate for Dec. 27 testing was 23.8%, jumping up from the 9.2% last reported on Dec. 22. The rate hovered around 11% during the break and DHEC did not indicate how many cases of Omicron were detected from Dec. 22 through Dec. 27.

It's typical to see the number of reported cases drop during the holidays when fewer people are getting tested, DHEC noted, but that wasn't the case for Christmas.

Of the nearly 16,000 new cases reported over the Christmas weekend, the highest single-day report since Dec. 25 was Wednesday with 3,391 cases.

The Dec. 24 report held 2,934 cases with 10 deaths. Those numbers jumped on Dec. 25 to 3,148 cases and 29 deaths. The total number of cases on the Dec. 26 report was 3,272 with 13 deaths. The numbers dipped on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 to 2,268 cases with no deaths and 1,494 cases with one death, respectively.

The percent positive date jumped to 13.9% on the Dec. 27 report and dipped to 10.8% on Dec. 28 before the Dec. 29 report of 23.8% positive.

The latest threat is the omicron variant, which accounts for more than 73% of new COVID-19 infections in the nation and has been canceling major events as well as forcing schools to go virtual.

Most of the U.S. is showing high rates of transmission. Northern states such as New York, Illinois, Wisconsin as well as Florida, Georgia and Alabama are among areas hardest hit.

The U.S. has recorded more than 52.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 818,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals total more than 281.5 million cases and 5.4 million deaths. More than 205 million Americans – 61.8% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

DHEC announced three confirmed cases on the Omicron variant on Dec. 15 when three adults in the Lowcountry tested positive. The virus tracking dashboard shows a positive Omicron case traced back to the week of Nov. 28.

More: Good news about omicron: It may pass quickly, pose small threat to vaccinated, experts say

A total of six cases of the omicron variant had been detected as of Dec. 12, making up 28.6% of positive cases.

The Medical University of South Carolina reported Wednesday that Omicron now accounts for the majority of positive cases in its testing lab — 61% as of Christmas Eve. As of Dec. 22, there were only two reported cases of Omicron in the Upstate.

There have been 763,703 cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, according to DHEC.

USA Today contributed to this story.

— Caitlin Herrington, local reporter and lover of alliteration, covers government and growth in the Golden Strip. Get in touch with her at cherrington@greenvillenews.com, support her work by subscribing and follow her on Twitter @GVLnewsCat.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: COVID case rate has sharp increase over Christmas break across SC

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