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SC logs high numbers of new coronavirus cases as vaccines proceed

DHEC logs 2,644 new cases, 14 deaths

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1215 Roper shots 6.jpg (copy) (copy) (copy)

Roper Hospital nurse Pat Phelan receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, administered by nurse Marcela McGeorge, on Dec. 15 in Charleston. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

South Carolina continued to see high numbers of new coronavirus cases on Monday after a record-breaking weekend.

Monday's report of new cases, which reflects data as of Saturday, is lower than the actual number due to an internal systems issue, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said. The number of new probable cases and deaths reported Monday could change due to the issue.

DHEC's county-level dashboard will be updated to reflect the missing cases once that problem is resolved.

Friday and Saturday set records, with almost 5,000 new cases logged Friday and about 4,500 cases recorded Saturday.

The state is making "great strides in vaccination efforts," DHEC's interim director of public health, Dr. Brannon Traxler, said Monday in a news briefing. 

As of Monday morning, around 105,800 vaccine doses had been administered throughout South Carolina. On Wednesday, residents aged 70 and older can start making appointments for their first doses.

"Vaccines are here, and they are a light at the end of the tunnel," Traxler said.

She advised caution, however, saying residents should still maintain social distancing and wear masks.

Statewide numbers

New cases reported: 2,644, which is 1,586 percent higher than the 158 tallied on March 31, the day Gov. Henry McMaster ordered nonessential businesses to close.

Total cases in S.C.: 326,588, plus 31,066 probable cases

New deaths reported: 14

Total deaths in S.C.: 5,329 confirmed, 496 probable

Total tests in S.C.: 4,061,891

Hospitalized patients: 2,387

Percent of positive tests, 7-day average: 30.5 percent. Five percent of tests or fewer returning positive results is a good sign the virus' spread is slowing, researchers say.

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Hardest-hit areas

According to data from DHEC, the top counties for new coronavirus cases reported Monday were Greenville, 380; Horry, 237; and Richland, 208.

What about tri-county?

Charleston County had 159 new cases; Berkeley, 68; and Dorchester, 80.

Deaths

One of the 14 new deaths reported Monday was a patient aged 35 to 64, and the rest were 65 and older.

They lived in Anderson, Bamberg, Beaufort, Greenville, Jasper, Lexington and York counties.

Hospitalizations

Of the 2,387 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, 465 were in intensive care and 250 were on ventilators.

What do experts say?

Authorities continue to urge South Carolinians to take precautions, such as wearing masks or other face coverings, social distancing and frequently washing hands.

They also urge anyone who believes they’ve been exposed to the virus or who is developing symptoms to get tested. Those out in the community or not able to socially distance should get tested monthly, DHEC advised.

MUSC said it plans to offer rapid testing in the Charleston International Airport's daily parking garage from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.    

Go to scdhec.gov/findatest to find a testing site in your area.

Reach Fleming Smith at 843-937-5591. Follow her on Twitter at @MFlemingSmith.

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