Increasing number of new Covid-19 cases in South Carolina, face masks highly recommended in indoor settings across the state, schools and workplaces

Since late May, the number of new Covid-19 cases nationwide has been constantly on the rise. Across the country, the number of new Covid-19 cases was 139,296 on Friday, while the 14-day average was 124,103 per day, which is 5% less compared to the previous period.

A total of 44,088 people were hospitalized due to the virus, and 5,081 were in ICUs. On Friday, 436 people died due to Covid-19 complications, bringing the total to 1,026,300 Covid-19 deaths nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

Palmetto State follows the same increasing trend of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. As of July 23, South Carolina added more than 16,000 new Covid-19 cases while 538 people were hospitalized for the virus, DHEC data shows. Per the Times’ Covid-19 tracker, the 14-day average has increased by 30%, which is one of the largest increases in recent months.

At the moment, the Omicron strain, or more specifically the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, which is very similar to the BA.4 subvariant, is the most common Covid-19 strain. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants make up around 95% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

The BA.5 and BA.5 variants of the virus are highly contagious and are known to easily evade both vaccine and natural immunity developed by previous recovery from the virus. That’s why, the federal health officials constantly urge people to get vaccinated against the virus, while those fully vaccinated are highly encouraged to get boosters once available.

The rising number of new Covid-19 cases in South Carolina was expected and something that state health leaders have been warning about for weeks. The latest uptick in cases prompted South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials to recommend wearing face masks in indoor settings, including schools and workplaces, a recommendation that now applies to most of the SC counties.

Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown and Williamsburg County are the counties with the highest number of cases and are considered to have high community levels of Covid-19 transmission. DHEC has adopted CDC’s guidance on masking, which is based on the COVID-19 Community Level for each county. In part, the guidance states: In communities with high levels of COVID-19, masking is recommended in indoor settings, including schools and workplaces. Most SC counties are now in the red zone.

While masking offers decent protection against getting infected with Covid-19, vaccines remain the best weapon we currently have in battling the virus, especially when it comes to developing serious conditions and death.

For more Covid-19 related data, please visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s website.

Alex Tuhell

Co-founder and publisher

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