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‘Protect each other:’ DHEC encourages safer New Year’s plans, SC reports over 3,300 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:10 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - Ahead of New Year’s Eve, health officials in South Carolina are encouraging residents to make alternative plans after the state saw another spike in COVID-19 cases.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 3,354 confirmed cases in its latest report, released Thursday. The update comes as case numbers have continued to rise over the past week, marking the highest totals seen in the state since October.

Nine additional confirmed COVID-19 deaths were also reported, bringing the total death toll in South Carolina to 12,640.

As of this week, South Carolina is also seeing nearly 40% more people testing positive for COVID-19 being hospitalized compared to the week prior, and 80% more new confirmed COVID-19 admissions at hospitals compared to last week.

“We are at a crucial moment in this pandemic,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, Public Health Director at DHEC. “We don’t want to start 2022 with record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and we are headed in that direction.”

In a Twitter thread published Thursday afternoon, the agency said the number of positive cases will likely continue to rise in the days and weeks following New Year’s Day.

“We recognize that at this point people are numb to the data, but these stats aren’t simply numbers,” read one of the tweets. “They represent people. People who are our family members, friends and loved ones who are sick, hospitalized and dying from this disease. It’s easy to look at these big numbers from a statewide perspective. What’s not easy is being one of the people who is breathing with the help of a ventilator. Or being a loved one who is praying their family member will recover from a severe case.”

DHEC later encouraged residents to make safer plans to ring in 2022, such as meeting for virtual toasts, playing music over a video message or small-scale outdoor events.

“We need to unite as a state to protect each other. Ring in the New Year with a renewed commitment to your health and the health of others,” the agency said. “Please consider staying home for the New Year so COVID can’t impact you and the people you love.”

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