South Carolina COVID numbers continue to rise with nearly 15,000 new cases, 32 deaths

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South Carolina added nearly 15,000 new COVID-10 cases and 32 deaths on Thursday, continuing the string of high case counts for the past couple weeks.

The figures come a few days after South Carolina broke its single-day record for coronavirus cases for the fourth time in 11 days. The state also shattered its weekly case record, with 86,639 new cases for the seven-day period that ended last weekend.

Of the 14,764 new cases reported Thursday, at least 4,352 were listed as “probable” rather than confirmed. That brings the state’s total COVID-19 cases to more than 1,132,800 since March 2020.

The state conducted 66,680 tests for Thursday’s data, with 26.9% coming back positive. The state health department says cases reported come from testing completed two days earlier.

In the days prior to Thanksgiving, the state averaged fewer than 600 new cases per day, which included a low of 259 cases on Nov. 24, and no days over 1,000 cases. Since then, there has been a surge to more than 13,700 new cases averaged per day — the highest at any point during the pandemic.

The recent explosion in new coronavirus infections across the state is coinciding with extremely long wait times at some COVID-19 testing sites, a shortage of at-home tests available at some pharmacies, and delays for many people awaiting their test results. State health and CDC officials say the new omicron variant is to blame for the spike, making up 95% of all new cases around the country.

But while case counts are up, the death rate is lower than at some earlier points in the pandemic.

The 32 new deaths on Thursday bring the statewide death toll to 14,880. About 400 people have died of COVID-19 in South Carolina over the past month, the lowest monthly total since August.

DHEC officials have recommended that all eligible children ages 12 and up receive a booster Pfizer vaccine five months after their second dose to become “maximally vaccinated.” Pfizer boosters were previously recommended for children ages 16 and up. All eligible adults who are fully vaccinated — two shots — are encouraged to get booster vaccines as well to help fight off the virus, as the vast majority of the new cases are people who are unvaccinated.

About 46% of the new cases on Thursday were people age 30 and under. Children 10 and younger made up 12.8% of the new cases, while q7.6% of the cases were diagnosed in people between the ages of 11-20. At the earlier height of the pandemic between December 2019 and February 2020, only 5.8% of positive cases were kids 10 and under.

There have been 566 deaths — 0.0223% of all cases — as of Jan. 7 from “breakthrough” cases, meaning an infected person is fully vaccinated with at least two doses. The majority of deaths — 59% — are people age 71 and up. About 61.5% of those who died had comorbid conditions. An estimated 1.2641% of all fully vaccinated people have been infected, while nearly 0.0726% of fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized.

Health officials recommend wearing a face mask and getting the coronavirus vaccine to help limit the spread of the virus.

South Carolina has one of the country’s lowest rates of full vaccination status — people with two vaccine shots — among its eligible population, at an estimated 52.5%.

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