DHEC says they’ve seen a 58% rise in COVID-19 cases over the past week

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 8:24 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - With just over 43% of South Carolinians fully vaccinated against COVID-19, DHEC says the rate of new infections is slowly on the rise.

The agency said it saw a 7.5% increase in cases three weeks ago, then an 18% increase.

Now, that number has spiked to a 58% increase in the past week.

While still nowhere near the pre-vaccination highs this winter, Dr. Gerald Harmon of Tidelands Health said this is frustrating information.

“We need to take ownership of the fact that we have a very effective weapon against this virus that we’re not utilizing. We need to take that seriously or otherwise we will lose some of the progress,” Harmon said.

DHEC said they’ve confirmed 12 cases of the more contagious delta variant in South Carolina, but that isn’t the full story.

“We know there are more cases of the delta variant in the state, because only a sample of known positive cases are sequenced,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, Director of Public Health for DHEC said.

Both Traxler and Harmon said while the delta variant is of concern, those vaccinated are protected. Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson are all still effective against the variant.

While the delta variant is not fully responsible for the rise in cases, Traxler said the biggest reason is a slowdown in vaccinations.

“A lot of it is the percentage of unvaccinated people in South Carolina, that are vulnerable to infection for COVID-19,” she said.

Harmon said Tidelands will start offering vaccines at primary care physicians’ offices on August 1. He said this is so patients can ask their doctor about the vaccine and get it right away, without having to go elsewhere for another appointment.

For more information on where to get vaccinated at Tidelands Health, click here.

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