We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
Over 500 new cases reported in SC
At least 740,337 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 12,399 have died in South Carolina since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday, Dec. 7, reported 526 new COVID-19 cases and 13 coronavirus-related deaths. There were also 340 probable cases and four additional probable deaths, data shows.
At least 475 people in the state were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Dec. 8, including 134 patients being treated in intensive care units and 65 on ventilators. About 5.2% of hospitalizations across the state are coronavirus-related, data shows.
As of Dec. 8, 5.4% 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.
More than 50% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and nearly 59% have received at least one dose, according to health officials.
SC lawmakers push back against COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Efforts requiring employers to require their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine is getting major push back from some South Carolina lawmakers, according to The State.
A handful of lawmakers, including Reps. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter; Gary Simrill, R-York; and Bill Whitmire, R-Oconee, have thrown their support behind new legislation aimed at preventing employer-driven vaccine requirements.
The bill would provide funding for employers to pay for weekly coronavirus testing for workers who are opposed to getting the jab, the newspaper reported. Under the proposed legislation, companies would also be required to re-hire employees who were fired for not getting vaccinated and pay their potential court costs.
“We just want to our jobs,” John Baker, a Charleston firefighter who’s against vaccine mandates, said at a hearing Tuesday, Dec. 7. “We want to do what we were trained to do, and we want to continue to do it for a long and healthy career.”
Read the full story here.
Free COVID test site to now run through December
A site offering free COVID-19 tests on Hilton Head Island is extending its clinic through December.
The testing center launched in September and was expected to stay open through November. Now, it will continue to run this month as demand for tests typically rises before Christmas and other holidays.
The site will be open 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, except for Dec. 27, according to town and state officials. The clinic is at Fire Station 4 on Squire Pope Road, The Island Packet reported.
Children slow to get vaccinated
Some South Carolina parents haven’t jumped at the chance to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
In Beaufort County, about 29% of kids younger than 17 have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose. The shots recently became available for 5- to 11-year-olds and had already been available for kids 12 and older.
“It’s disappointing,” said Dr. Kurt Gambla, chief medical officer at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. “It’s a very risky proposition to just assume that your kid’s going to do well if they get sick.”
Statewide, 24.5% of eligible kids and teens have gotten at least one vaccine dose.
“Typically, you don’t see kids get as ill,” Gambla said. “I think that’s been the main reason that people have not been jumping all over it, getting their kids vaccinated.”