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DHEC reports COVID numbers are increasing in South Carolina

The latest numbers show COVID cases have spiked in the last three weeks.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The latest COVID-19 numbers from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) show cases are rising, with numbers increasing for the third week in a row.

In the first week of May, the agency reported 4,458 cases, compared to 3,063 the week before and 2,210 the week before that. DHEC said the weekly data includes every 7-day, Sunday-Saturday period. 

While there has been an increase in case counts in recent weeks, state health officials say they're not at the point where they're considering it a legitimate, sustained surge.

Dr. Anthony Alberg, an epidemiologist with USC, says we are seeing an upward trend. “In the last 14 days, over a 100% increase," said Dr. Alberg.

While deaths aren’t increasing, Alberg says during the summer, if cases numbers continue to rise, there could be serious repercussions.

“In a state like South Carolina, where the summers are so hot, you might actually see increased congregation indoors with air conditioning,” Alberg said.

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News 19 asked if DHEC if it is planning to re-open test sites if cases increase.

“The plan for future surges is to increase testing using at-home rapid antigen tests," said DHEC spokesman Ron Aiken in a statement. "When virus transmission is widespread like in a surge, there is more usefulness in rapid in-home self-testing rather than deploying resources for in-person, large-scale testing operations.”

Dr. Alberg recommends those over 50 and those over 12 who are immunocompromised get a second booster shot. If cases continue to rise, Alberg says the push for everyone to get their second booster will be amped up.

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Additionally, he says, if we start to see case spikes, mask wearing may again be required.

“If we start to see evidence of increased transmission, increased hospitalizations, increased COVID-19 deaths and get into the higher risk zones, then those recommendations will kick in.”

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