South Carolina’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb after the state set another daily case record for the sixth time in less than three weeks.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported more than 20,000 new cases on Sunday, beating the record previously set last Friday. The 68,597 cases added over the past four days by DHEC also shattered the state’s previous weekly case count record, totaling more than 113,300 cases.
For nearly a year, the most cases every reported in S.C. was 7,727 cases on Jan. 6. Since New Year’s Eve, however, the state has seen a surge in cases.
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 16,800 new cases averaged per day — the highest at any point during the pandemic.
DHEC reported 19,208 cases and 51 deaths on Saturday, 20,337 cases and 40 deaths Sunday and added 16,102 cases and seven deaths for Monday. Tuesday’s data shows 12,950 cases and three deaths. The state health department says cases reported come from testing completed two days earlier.
Of the 68,597 new cases reported, at least 10,425 were listed as “probable” rather than confirmed. That brings the state’s total COVID-19 cases to more than 1,225,000 since March 2020.
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.
As case counts continue to grow, so does the state’s death toll.
The 101 new deaths bring the statewide death toll to 15,015. About 530 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.
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 52.6%.