COLUMBIA — A new federal community vaccination center, capable of administering 7,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per week, is expected to be up and running at the Columbia Place Mall by April 14.
The White House announced plans for the new center on April 5. Federal teams have been deployed to work hand-in-hand with the state and local jurisdictions, according to a news release.
The federal government will provide limited direct vaccine allocation to the site through FEMA during the pilot period. The center will follow South Carolina's vaccine eligibility requirements.
"We are committed to the equitable distribution of the vaccine and our top priority is to ensure everyone who wants a vaccine gets one," said Gracia Szczech, the FEMA Region IV administrator. "Opening the community vaccination center at Columbia Place Mall will help make that happen."
The goal for the joint federal pilot centers is to continue expanding vaccination rates while ensuring communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind. New sites were also announced in Pueblo, Colo., and St. Paul, Minn.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has identified Richland County as having a high vaccine demand. The county has a population of more than 408,000 residents and a vaccination rate of about 30 percent, the White House said.
New cases reported: 641 confirmed, 345 probable.
Total cases in S.C.: 467,750 confirmed, 88,719 probable.
Percent positive: 4.4 percent.
New deaths reported: 7 confirmed, 1 probable.
Total deaths in S.C.: 8,111 confirmed, 1,092 probable.
Percent of ICU beds filled: 69.3 percent.
How does S.C. rank in vaccines administered per 100,000 people?
44th as of April 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the total number of newly confirmed cases, Greenville County (104), Charleston County (56) and Richland County (51) saw the highest totals.
What about the tri-county?
Charleston County had 56 new cases on April 5, while Berkeley had 24 and Dorchester had 20.
Six of the new confirmed deaths reported were patients 65 and older, and one was a patient age 35 to 64.
Of the 486 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of April 5, 117 were in the ICU and 52 were using ventilators.
What do experts say?
South Carolina's health professionals agree that in order to beat COVID-19, residents should get the vaccine as soon as an appointment is available.
Getting tested is still essential in slowing the spread of the virus in the community, along with wearing a mask and social distancing. Testing locations can be found at scdhec.gov/FindATest.