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South Carolina sets new COVID-19 patient record

The Palmetto State continues to see its coronavirus metrics surge as health officials worry about Christmas-related cases on the horizon.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — South Carolina health officials reported a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday as the Palmetto State is now weeks into its post-Thanksgiving coronavirus surge. 

The Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 1,867 people are receiving hospital care statewide due to COVID-19. 

DHEC data shows Christmas Day saw a new daily case record, with 4,377 infections found in one day. Not only is it the largest one-day increase in cases, but it is also the first time South Carolina has seen more than 4,000 infections in a single day.

The positive test rate is averaging 22.6%. The percentage of tests returning a positive result has ballooned, rising roughly 10 percentage points since late November. The most recent day of data reported, Dec. 26, shows a whopping 28.5% of tests detected an infection that day.

The rising numbers come as health officials in South Carolina and across the U.S., overall, are bracing for another possible surge in the virus connected to Christmas gatherings.

Last week, DHEC released a statement urging South Carolinians to "safely celebrate this holiday season."

Health officials have been advising against holiday travel due to rising COVID-19 cases. However, they suggest that people set on traveling and gathering get tested ahead of time, keep gatherings small and outdoors, and adhere to social distancing and masking guidance.

RELATED: DHEC: 6,920 total new COVID-19 cases over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day in SC

"It's not worth the risk," Dr. Brannon Traxler, interim Public Health Director, said. "Celebrating this holiday season like we would any other year puts the health of you and your loved ones in jeopardy. Staying home means staying safe. If you need to be out in a public setting like a grocery store or post office, wear your mask and physically distance from others by at least six feet. Getting tested regularly is also recommended so you know your health status in regard to COVID-19. It’s worth it to change how we celebrate this year so we can all be together next year."

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