SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — The flu virus continues to affect parts of South Carolina, including in Sumter where some doctors say they're seeing an increase in patients seeking care.
Dr. Clay Lowder is a family practice physician in the county.
"If I told you right now that we had a coronavirus vaccine you would run in here to get it," Lowder said. "The flu shot is a little controversial, but I still think, and our doctor's all here think, it's the best protection for you and your family."
Recent data from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) shows 12 consecutive weeks of widespread flu activity in South Carolina.
In the current flu season, there have been more than 1600 flu-related hospitalizations and 56 deaths in the state.
"We're encouraging people, if you get fever, headaches, cough, sudden on-set, and you really feel bad all over you need to... get a flu test and get on medication," Lowder said.
DHEC reports show that between January 26 and February 1, Sumter remained steady in reports of the flu.
Other areas primarily in the Upstate and upper-Midlands, including Richland, Lexington and Kershaw counties, showed an increase in flu-related activity.
Officials with the department say the flu shot is the best line of defense against the virus.