S.C. surpasses 1 million positive COVID cases since the pandemic began
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Today, South Carolina DHEC announced nearly 7000 new cases of COVID-19. The governor held a press conference today saying there is no need for a state of emergency. This comes just as the state surpasses 1 million positive COVID cases since the pandemic began.
“We don’t need to panic. We didn’t panic before. We don’t panic now. Be calm, things are not like they were a year ago.. . There’s no need for us to shut down. We’re not going to close schools, we haven’t and we will not close businesses ,we will not impose mandates for facemask, vaccines, or anything else in the reasons are because it’s not necessary,” said Governor Henry McMaster.
Governor McMaster says the Omicron variant is more infectious than others but isn’t as dangerous. Doctor Linda Bell with South Carolina DHEC says even though Omicron appears to cause milder infections, there is still cause for great concern.
“I hope that no one will say that raising concerns about an average of now 81 lives lost each week in the recent weeks is an overblown reaction,” said Doctor Bell.
The current surge is being fueled by the Delta and Omicron variant. Doctor Bell says state hospitals and emergency rooms are overburdened with patients with COVID and other illnesses. Testing also difficult, Doctor Bell says many people are complaining of delays in testing and results. “We’re really actively working with our own site, with our contractors, and the private providers to do everything we can to reduce those wait times.“
Doctor Bell says data shows the age group driving this surge is young people 20 to 40. She says they are the most socially active and have low vaccination numbers. “We could force an earlier decline in this surge if our vaccination uptake improved more quickly. Community members could also help for the many new infections if we took much more care and widely adopted the correct consistent use of masks and the use of physical distancing.”
Doctor Bell expects the state will continue to see a surge in COVID cases over the next 4 to 6 weeks.