Charleston County government will reinstate a mask rule in public government buildings and areas beginning Aug. 2 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and the threat of the Delta variant.
In a July 30 news release, the county said it has followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this month, the CDC recommended everyone wear face coverings in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.
County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor has encouraged all residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Not only are you protecting yourself from dying or getting sick, but you are also protecting your family members and other compromised individuals," Pryor said.
Some corporations are also beginning to reverse mask policies following new guidance from the CDC.
Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, will begin requiring all workers, included vaccinated ones, in areas with high infection rates to wear masks.
The company said it is also encouraging customers to wear masks in those stores with high infection rates and will add signs at entrances, according to a memo sent to workers on July 30.
The Associated Press reported the company is also doubling the incentive for workers in stores, clubs, transportation, distribution centers and fulfillment centers to get the vaccine for $150. Workers who already received a $75 incentive will receive another $75 in their paycheck dated Aug. 19.
Walmart Inc. said it will share details in the future about the implementation of a new process to verify the vaccine status of workers in the United States.
To find a nearby vaccine location in South Carolina, go to vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov.
New cases reported: 1,392 confirmed, 811 probable.
Total cases in S.C.: 505,676 confirmed, 111,472 probable.
Percent positive: 12.5 percent.
New deaths reported: 2 confirmed, 0 probable.
Total deaths in S.C.: 8,731 confirmed, 1,173 probable.
Percent of ICU beds filled: 70 percent.
S.C. residents vaccinated
DHEC's vaccine dashboard shows that 51 percent of the state's residents have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 44.5 percent have completed vaccination.
In the total number of newly confirmed cases, Horry County (145), Lexington County (121) and Richland County (109) saw the highest totals.
What about tri-county?
Charleston County had 92 new cases on July 30, while Berkeley County had 53 and Dorchester County had 57.
DHEC did not report the ages of the two people who died in the July 30 data.
Of the 453 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of July 30, 133 were in the ICU and 49 were using ventilators.
What do experts say?
The Delta variant grew from less than 1 percent of cases in May to more than 80 percent in July, according to DHEC. This variant spreads about twice as easily as past strains of the virus, and its victims are mostly unvaccinated people.
Getting vaccinated helps prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death.
Call 866-365-8110 or go to scdhec.gov/vaxfacts for more information or help finding a vaccine provider.