COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina has broken 3,000 new COVID cases for the first time since early February, as the summer surge reaches a new high.
The state's health agency, DHEC, reported 3,236 new total cases Friday. Those numbers are based on data collected on Wednesday, August 6. That is the highest-one day total since 3,458 total cases were reported on February 12.
It's also over 500 cases more than the previous day, which itself was nearly a six-month high.
Horry County led the state with 400 new cases. Lexington County was the highest in the Midlands with 278 cases, while Richland was next with 244.
Back when the state last hit 3,000 cases, however, the COVID-19 vaccine was only primarily available to healthcare workers and seniors and it was still difficult to get an appointment. The shot wouldn't be available to all adults until the end of March. Many municipalities also had mask mandates.
The new numbers continue a worrisome trend in steep increase in cases that began after the July 4th holiday. South Carolina has exceeded 2,000 new daily cases for seven of the last eight days. That's after five straight months of the state recording no days over 2,000 cases.
Hospitalizations are rising as well after months of decline. As of Tuesday--the most recent days numbers were available--729 people were hospitalized with COVID, with 196 people in ICU. A week earlier, those numbers were 297 and 79, respectively.
Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia is just one example of what's changed. They said this week that a month ago, there were five COVID patients in the hospital. As of August 3rd, were 92.
Doctors have said the Delta variant of the virus, which is easier to spread, is fueling the increase. Health experts say the best way to prevent the virus is to get vaccinated.
Vaccinations are available for ages 12 and up at many locations across the state. Visit DHEC’s information page for more information on the vaccines, and the locator page to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Free COVID-19 Testing
DHEC-sponsored testing is free and pain-free (oral or nasal swab). Find a free DHEC testing location near you at: scdhec.gov/gettested. Information for non-DHEC testing opportunities from community partners is available here: scdhec.gov/covid19testing.
There continues to be a high rate of COVID-19 disease transmission in communities across our state. The CDC currently recommends these individuals to get tested for COVID-19.
- People who have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.
- Most people who have had close contact(within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
- Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to be tested following an exposure to someone with COVID-19.
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested following an exposure as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
- People who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings.
People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider.