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South Carolina health officials Monday reported 740 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths from the virus.
Just more than 4% of the 25,197 COVID-19 tests reported Monday returned positive results, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, making it the lowest single-day positivity rate since last spring.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider a COVID-19 positivity rate at or below 5% to represent “low” transmission.
DHEC, which recently changed the way it calculates percent positivity, determines the rate by taking the total number of positive viral tests and dividing those by the total number of tests taken. The number of cases is lower than the number of positive tests because some people take multiple tests.
COVID-19 hospitalizations, which have declined steadily since mid-January, dropped again Monday to 725, their lowest point in more than three months.
Since March of last year, the state has reported 444,991 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,592 deaths from the virus.
South Carolina counts an additional 72,985 cases, including 113 Monday, as probable positives. They also count another 970 deaths, including three Monday, as probable COVID-19 deaths.
DHEC defines a probable case as someone who has had a positive antigen test or has virus symptoms and is at high risk for infection. Probable deaths are ones where the death certificate lists COVID-19 as the cause of or a contributing factor to death, but the person was not tested for the virus.
The state has reported a cumulative total of 517,976 probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,562 probable and confirmed deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of Monday, South Carolina had received 653,810 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine and 549,600 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The agency reported Monday that 427,057 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 263,096 first doses of the Moderna vaccine had been administered so far. Another 201,618 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 80,966 second doses of the Moderna vaccine also have been administered.
Administrations of the Moderna vaccine currently lag behind Pfizer administrations because Moderna shots had originally been used exclusively to vaccinate long-term care facility residents and staff as part of a federal pharmacy partnership. In recent weeks, the Moderna vaccine, which does not have the same ultra-cold storage requirements as the Pfizer vaccine, has been shipped to pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and other providers, and its uptake is expected to increase.
Health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, and all people age 65 and older are currently eligible to receive vaccinations.
In addition to the 930,000 first and second vaccine doses that have been administered, South Carolinians have scheduled another 520,000 vaccination appointments, DHEC said.
The state also will get its first shipment of Janssen vaccine doses this week, health officials said. The Janssen vaccine, also known as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, received emergency use authorization over the weekend. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that require a two-dose regimen, the Janssen vaccine requires only a single dose.
Anyone eligible to receive a vaccine who would like to get one can use DHEC’s locator tool to find a provider with availability near you at www.scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. For those who lack internet access, DHEC has launched a phone line — 866-365-8110 — where operators are available every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help people searching for information about vaccine providers.
State health officials advise South Carolinians to continue taking measures to mitigate spread of COVID-19 as the vaccination rollout progresses in the months ahead.
DHEC urges anyone who is symptomatic or who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to get tested themselves and recommends routine monthly testing for anyone who is out and about in the community, even if they are asymptomatic.
To find a testing location near you, visit DHEC’s website at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-locations.