COVID cases rise to near-record in South Carolina

Coronavirus

Ciera Brown with Roper St. Francis Healthcare prepares a specimen collection kit at the hospital’s North Charleston office Monday, March 16, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. Roper St. Francis Healthcare is providing drive-thru specimen collecting for patients suspected of having COVID-19 or flu who have already been screened by a Virtual Care provider. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – South Carolina saw over 6,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the third-highest total in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 6,697 new cases of the disease across the state.

The only days with more cases reported since the pandemic started 18 months ago were 7,680 cases on Jan. 6 and 7,450 cases on Jan. 8 — before vaccines were widely available.

“We have to pay close attention to what these numbers are telling us about the virus’ behavior and understand the risk we’re facing,” said DHEC Director Dr. Ed Simmer.

The state health department again urged lawmakers to consider removing a provision that bars school districts from being able to require masks.

The General Assembly passed the measure in June when the state saw 20 times fewer new COVID-19 cases.

The highly contagious delta variant has since fueled a spike in cases. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people, health officials say.

“Without a corresponding surge in vaccinations to meet this challenge and universal indoor masking in public places, my fear is that more grim milestones are ahead,” Simmer stated. “My hope, however, is that we will rise to meet this challenge by getting all eligible South Carolinians vaccinated so together we can end this pandemic.”

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