‘Don’t let your guard down:’ DHEC warns of potential post-holiday case spike
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials have warned about a possible post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant is detected in the U.S.
During a Wednesday briefing, DHEC Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler referred back to January 2021, when the state saw its highest daily number of virus cases.
“Please don’t let your guard down if our case counts are comparatively low the next few days,” Traxler said about recent case counts.
The Omicron variant was first detected in the U.S. in San Francisco, Wednesday afternoon.
Dr. Cameron Webb of the White House’s COVID-19 task force explained how these variants compare to the different types of flu strains.
“COVID is a little different,” Webb said. “As an RNA virus, its goal is to get into the body and make more of itself using your body’s machinery, and when it does that, sometimes it makes copying errors, and in the process of those copying errors, it creates a new version of itself.”
DHEC still recommends South Carolinians to mask up, get vaccinated and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread.
Over the past 30 days, the percent positive rate has increased to around 5%, up from 4% last month, while the overall death rate has gone down from around 24 per day to around 10 per day, according to DHEC.
While state health officials said they do not know the full effects of the Omicron variant, they urge people to get their shots as soon as possible.
“With abundant access statewide to these lifesaving vaccines, we’re hopeful that we won’t even come close to seeing the deadly spike we saw last holiday season and shortly afterwards,” Traxler said.
State health officials warned that a typical holiday spike in virus cases usually happens around 10 days after the holiday.
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