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South Carolina sets record with over 20,000 new COVID cases in one day

New single-day record set on Sunday with 20,337 new cases reported (16,804 confirmed; 3,533 probable)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released the latest COVID-19 data from over the holiday weekend and once again, the state has set a new one-day total of reported new cases.

The total number of cases reported during the four-day period from Thursday, January 13 to Sunday, January 16 is 68,597. This is how it breaks down:

  • Thursday, Jan. 13: 19,208 total (15,466 confirmed; 3,742 probable) new cases; 51 COVID-related deaths (43 confirmed, 8 probable)
  • Friday, Jan. 14: 20,337 total (16,804 confirmed; 3,533 probable) new cases; 40 COVID-related deaths (29 confirmed, 11 probable) 
  • Saturday, Jan. 15: 16,102 total (14,165 confirmed; 1,937 probable) new cases; 7 COVID-related deaths (7 confirmed, 0 probable) 
  • Sunday, Jan. 16: 12,950 total (11,737 confirmed; 1,213 probable) new cases; 3 COVID-related deaths (2 confirmed, 1 probable)

The 20,337 cases on January 16 is the all-time one day record for the state, breaking a mark of 19,483 set just last week. 

The numbers are staggering compared to what was sent in previous surges. Prior to the end of December, the highest total ever seen was just over 7,600 in one day. 

And the quest by some to see if they have the illness has led to a surge in testing. Over 78,000 tests were conducted on January 13, and another 68,000 were done the next day. For some perspective, before this surge began, there were between 4,000 and 10,000 tests being done a day.

Just under a third of all tests being conducted are coming back positive at this point. And this data does not include any at-home testing that may be taking place. 

This has also led to a backlog of cases, with private labs struggling to keep up. DHEC says the problem is unacceptable and is working with the labs to make the situation better. 

While the omicron variant has lived up to its billing as being more transmissible---leading to these new records--its said to be more mild. However, the sheer volume of people getting sick is also having an effect on those being hospitalized.

As of the latest data, there were 2,309 people hospitalized with COVID-19 related illnesses, 22.2% higher than a week earlier, There were 428 patients in ICU, 30.1% higher than at the previous point 7 days earlier. 


DHEC has moved one of the largest COVID testing sites in the Midlands in order to have more capacity to test.

TourHealth COVID-19 testing site relocated to Columbia Place Mall, at 7201 Two Notch from 2600 Bull Street on Jan. 13. The hours of operation will be 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily. 

DHEC says COVID-19 vaccinations will continue at 2600 Bull St., but will also be available at this site.

DHEC also says if you were tested for the virus at any of the sites and have not received your results you can no go to PreMedInc website. Simply type in your phone number and birth date and click 'get my results'. 

The state's shattered all-time records for COVID positive cases as the omicron variant has moved through the state.  

How to Find Testing Locations:

To help, DHEC said it's ordered nearly half a million rapid antigen tests to distribute to communities in the coming days and weeks with the hope of getting results back sooner and reducing wait times at testing sites, some of which have seen waits upwards of an hour. 

Due to increases in the number of people being tested for COVID-19, South Carolinians should prepare for longer wait times (1-2 hours) at testing locations. DHEC encourages those wishing to get tested to plan ahead. DHEC and its testing contractors have been working to increase testing capacity at sites, in order to increase throughput, as well as to ensure turn-around times in labs remain at 24 to 48 hours.

Free testing and vaccinations can be found at county health departments throughout South Carolina. 

To find a vaccination site, or to get more information about vaccines and boosters, check out the link at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine

To find a testing site, go to the link at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-locations. Note that some private pharmacies, health care and doctor's offices are charging or requiring insurance for certain tests.

How to Get a Vaccine: 

Visit scdhec.gov/boosters for more information, and find a vaccination site near you on their vaccine locator webpage or by calling their Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110. 

People can also contact any of the major pharmacy chains in the area, which also have information on making appointments on their websites.



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