DHEC: South Carolina surpasses 10,000 COVID-related deaths

Coronavirus

Medical University of South Carolina healthcare providers dress in protective suiting, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., as they get ready to open the hospital’s drive-thru tent for patients who are being tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Citadel Mall parking lot. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — South Carolina has surpassed 10,000 COVID-related deaths, the state health department announced Wednesday.

To date, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed 8,823 deaths due to the coronavirus and reported 1,184 probable deaths.

DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer says now more than ever, it’s time for South Carolinians to take care of each other.

“If we do, we will defeat COVID-19, which has already taken so much from so many,” he said.

Simmer says the delta variant’s arrival has created a surge in new cases and deaths that must be taken seriously. The only way to prevent more lives lost, he says, is through vaccination.

Just 45% of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated, according to DHEC.

“Until we reach a critical percentage of South Carolinians vaccinated that can stifle COVID-19’s spread, we are not out of danger,” Simmer said. “And the longer that takes, the more time the virus has to mutate into new, harder-to-control variants.”

In the last week, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 60% and health officials say the majority of patients are not vaccinated.

Locally, according to DHEC, the virus has claimed 215 lives in Beaufort County, 53 in Hampton County and 50 in Jasper County.

“While statistics are useful to measure data, there is no statistic for grief or comfort in a milestone for those who have lost family members and loved ones,” Simmer said. “To all those families across South Carolina, I want to say my deepest sympathy is with you.

“I know I also speak on behalf of the thousands of dedicated DHEC employees across our great state who are working non-stop to help prevent more lives from being lost.”

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