South Carolina reports more than 10,000 new COVID cases, 14 more deaths

Joshua Boucher/jboucher@thestate.com
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South Carolina reported than 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, continuing the trend of high case counts throughout the Palmetto State.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control a day earlier reported more than 68,500 cases over a four-day period, setting new daily and weekly case records.

Of the 10,744 new cases reported Wednesday, at least 2,304 were listed as “probable” rather than confirmed. That brings the state’s total COVID-19 cases to more than 1,236,000 since March 2020.

The state conducted 35,060 tests for Wednesday’s data, with 33.4% coming back positive. Results are from tests collected 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 of more than 1,000 cases. Those figures have climbed to a weekly average of 16,800.

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 federal Centers for Disease Control officials say the new omicron variant is to blame for the spike, making up 95% of all new cases around the country.

As case counts continue to grow, so does the state’s death toll.

The 14 new deaths bring the statewide death toll to 15,029. About 540 people have died of COVID-19 in South Carolina over the past month.

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 48% of the new cases on Wednesday were people age 30 and under. Children 10 and younger made up 16.2% of the new cases, while 17.6% 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 584 deaths — 0.0229% of all cases — as of Jan. 14 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 1.4223% of all fully vaccinated people have been infected, while nearly 0.0820% 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 52.7%.

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