BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – South Carolina leaders say more than 50% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated.
Officials say the Palmetto State is now one step closer to the 70 to 80% vaccination goal.
“Reaching this 50 percent benchmark is a testament to the countless hours DHEC and partner staff have put into putting these life-saving doses into arms,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
“It’s also indicative of our outreach efforts, work with local and state leaders, and so many others who understand how important vaccination is to ending this pandemic,” he added. “That said, the mission is not over because the pandemic is not over. We need more South Carolinians to step up and get vaccinated so we can stamp COVID out once and for all.”
Thursday also brought a grim milestone for the state, with DHEC now reporting over 10,000 COVID-19 deaths.
One of those deaths was in Beaufort County, where 235 have now died from the virus. Jasper County saw another new death Thursday, bringing the death toll to 53.
DHEC reported 2,865 new cases across the state Thursday.
Hospitalizations dropped slightly statewide, about 1%, but Beaufort County rose to its highest number on record. There are now 77 COVID patients in the county — 17 who are in ICU.
Gov. Henry McMaster says the state has reached an important milestone but the virus’ reemergence shows “we have more work to do.”
“Ultimately, the decision to get vaccinated or not is a personal one, but I would ask every South Carolinian to consult your doctor and speak with trusted family and friends in order to make the most educated decision possible,” McMaster stated.
“Two things are clear – the most effective way to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and the vaccine is readily available in every part of the state,” he said. “If you decide to get vaccinated after thoughtful consideration of all the facts, now is the time to do it.”