COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina has set a new all-time daily record for COVID-19 cases, obliterating all previous marks as the state enters an accelerated new phase of the disease.
The numbers announced Friday by the state's health agency, DHEC, showed 8,882 total cases, with 6,319 confirmed and 2,563 probable. Those numbers represent tests completed on Wednesday. The total is nearly 3,000 cases more than the previous day.
It obliterates the old previous high--set back on January 6, 2021-- when there were 7,686 total cases.
The worst place in the state for the spike was the state's capital city, where Richland County saw 1,327 daily cases. That nearly doubles the all-time mark that was set just the previous day. Lexington County, though not as high, also set an all-time record with 757.
With these new numbers in mind, DHEC urged people in the state to reconsider their New Year's plans.
“As South Carolina braces for yet another new record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases, we are urging all South Carolinians to take steps to safely ring in the New Year as we enter the third year affected by this pandemic,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “While we prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve, we recognize that the virus is still very much present in communities and households across the state, and it is incumbent upon all of us to take actions to protect ourselves and those around us. This includes avoiding crowds and large gatherings and staying at home, if possible.”
If you do plan to attend a New Year’s Eve party, DHEC health officials recommend everyone wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
“If we don’t take actions now, New Year’s Eve celebrations could prove to be devastating, particularly for those who have not been maximally vaccinated,” Traxler said. “In the era of the Omicron variant, we are seeing the virus spread so rapidly that case counts are skyrocketing and hospital admissions due to the disease are increasing. This is all the more reason why it is so important to get maximally vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Other options for safely celebrating the holidays, include:
- meeting for virtual toasts and meals,
- playing music over a video message,
- planning a neighborhood countdown where everyone stands at their front door or porch, and
- recording your family’s countdown and sharing it on social media.
South Carolinians Encouraged to Plan Ahead to Help Reduce Wait Times at Testing Locations
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.
Not sure if you should be tested? Check here.
To find a vaccination site near you, click here.