We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in SC
At least 907,252 coronavirus cases have been reported in South Carolina, and at least 12,876 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Friday, Jan. 14, reported 15,409 new COVID-19 cases and 28 coronavirus-related deaths. There were also 4,074 probable cases and six probable deaths, data show.
The omicron variant accounted for 100% of coronavirus strains identified in South Carolina during the week that ended Jan. 8.
At least 2,111 people in the state were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 14, including 373 patients being treated in intensive care units and 195 on ventilators. About 23% of hospitalizations in South Carolina are coronavirus-related, data shows.
As of Jan. 14, nearly 32% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.
Roughly 52% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and just over 61% have received at least one dose.
COVID cases found on Charleston’s Carnival Sunshine cruise ship
Cases of COVID-19 have been reported aboard a Carnival cruise ship that set sail from Charleston on Thursday, Jan. 13, The Sun News reported, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Friday, Jan. 14, the Carnival Sunshine ship had reached the “yellow” threshold for CDC investigation, indicating 0.10% or more of passengers have tested positive for the virus, according to the agency’s website. The discovery comes not long after the CDC loosened its guidance for cruise travel amid a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant.
“We have been sailing from Charleston for 12 years, so we are excited to be back offering guests from all over the southeastern U.S. the opportunity to cruise from this beautiful, historic and charming community, all while providing support to the local economy,” Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said in a statement Jan. 13.
The ship is on a four-day cruise headed to the Bahamas, The Sun News reported
Read the full story here.
Gov. McMaster cheers SCOTUS ruling blocking COVID vaccine mandate
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 13 ruling that blocked President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccine mandate for employees at private companies with 100 or more workers, The State reported.
McMaster, who has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19-related mandates, cheered the decision on Twitter, calling it “a victory for the rule of law, federalism, and the Constitution.”
“South Carolina employers can breathe a little easier today knowing that President Biden and the Democrats’ radical agenda and illegal OSHA mandate has been exposed and disposed,” the governor wrote.
Under Biden’s plan, companies would have to require their workers to get the coronavirus vaccine or test negative for the virus every week. The president’s administration would have used the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce the rule.
On Jan. 13, the SCOTUS ruled that OSHA didn’t have the power to enforce such a requirement.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the justices wrote in their opinion.
Read the full story here.
Midlands school district goes virtual
Students in the Lexington-Richland 5 school district shifted to virtual learning on Friday, Jan. 14, due to staffing shortages caused by a surge in new COVID-19 cases.
Students were to log in from home on Friday, Jan. 14, and will do so again on Tuesday, Jan. 18, The State reported, citing district officials. School is out on Monday, Jan. 17, to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“School District Five is experiencing a high number of faculty and staff impacted by COVID-19 isolation and quarantine,” the school district wrote on Facebook. Administrators have scrambled to cover classes with substitutes, other reassigned staff and members of the administrative office.
“Today COVID-19 related absences are more than twice as high as absences during the Delta surge,” the post continues. “As a result, there will not be enough coverage available to provide effective instruction, safety, and supervision throughout the district.”
Read the full story here.
Myrtle Beach police close lobby due to rising COVID cases
The Myrtle Beach Police Department is closing its lobby at the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center to curb the “potential spread of COVID” as the highly infectious omicron variant drives a surge in cases across Horry County, according to The Sun News.
The department announced the closure in a Facebook post on Thursday, Jan. 13. It comes after Horry County government officials said it would begin limiting public access to its public buildings and facilities to prevent further spread of the virus.
Residents can make all necessary payments to the clerk’s office on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m., or Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6 p.m., the newspaper reported, citing police.