Coronavirus omicron updates: Here’s what to know in South Carolina on Jan. 21

·4 min read
Tracy Glantz/

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.

More than 8,500 new COVID-19 cases in SC

At least 985,882 coronavirus cases have been reported in South Carolina, and at least 12,986 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday, Jan. 20, reported 8,896 new COVID-19 cases and 19 coronavirus-related deaths. There were also 3,413 probable cases and five probable deaths, data shows.

The omicron variant accounted for 100% of coronavirus strains identified in South Carolina during the week that ended Jan. 8.

At least 2,508 people in the state were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 20, including 428 patients being treated in intensive care units and 218 on ventilators. Nearly 27% of hospitalizations in South Carolina are coronavirus-related, data shows.

As of Jan. 20, roughly 36% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.

Nearly 53% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and almost 62% have received at least one dose.

Did you or someone in your household test positive for COVID-19? Here’s what to do next

Hilton Head COVID testing site to close due to wintry weather

A COVID-19 testing site on Hilton Head Island will close this week due to winter weather that could leave parts of the region dangerously icy, according to The Island Packet.

BrightStar Care said it won’t provide free testing at the Chaplin Community Park site on Friday, Jan. 21, or Saturday, Jan. 22, the newspaper reported. The site will reopen Sunday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 11 Castnet Dr.

The clinic will resume its regular testing schedule after Sunday. Residents can stop by for a test Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is recommended but not required, clinic officials said.

Going to an ‘omicron party’ is ‘a bad idea,’ SC doctors warn

South Carolina doctors have a warning for residents trying to catch the coronavirus omicron variant on purpose, The State reported.

That’s a bad idea for several reasons, according to Prisma Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Divya Ahuja.

The warning comes amid reports of people purposely gathering so everyone can contract the virus and hasten its run through the community.

“The highly contagious variant of the coronavirus lasts longer, and while much has been made about it being less severe, some people are getting quite sick,” Ahuja said. “This is not something to be complacent about.”

Read the full story here.

Having trouble ordering your free COVID test? Here’s what could be going on

A website giving Americans access to 500 million free rapid at-home COVID-19 tests ordered by the federal government went live on Tuesday, Jan. 18. But some people are running into technical issues.

Last month, President Joe Biden laid out the government’s plans to purchase 1 billion tests to be made available for free as the highly contagious omicron variant drives new COVID-19 cases. The first 500 million are available to order on

With the launch has come a few hiccups, including an error message that claims “tests have already been ordered.”

The U.S. Postal Service, which is working with the Biden administration to deliver the tests, says there could be several reasons you’re having trouble ordering a test.

To find out more, read the full story here.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade ‘still a go’ in Savannah amid COVID surge

The city of Savannah, Georgia, will move forward with plans to hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in March, despite a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases, The Island Packet reported.

Mayor Van Johnson announced plans for the yearly celebration during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 18.

“We might have to make some modifications in light of what we’re dealing with, it might be less units, it might be a slightly different route, but right now we’re still a-go,” Johnson said of the parade, which has been canceled the last two years due to the pandemic.

Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest in the nation, according to The Island Packet, drawing a half a million people to the city for the weekend festivities. However, coronavirus infections are trending higher than they were in previous years when the parade was canceled.

Local officials are keeping an eye on the virus numbers, Johnson said, and expect them to improve.

“It appears that in some areas now the numbers are plateauing and they’re expected to rapidly go down,” he said.

Staff shortages disrupt Horry County Schools bus schedules. What parents should know

Beaufort County schools report record-high COVID infections; one school goes remote

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