SC coronavirus updates: COVID-19 case count exceeds 471,000

 SC coronavirus updates: COVID-19 case count exceeds 471,000

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.

Cases surpass 471,000

At least 471,855 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 8,165 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday reported 453 new confirmed COVID-19 cases.

No coronavirus-related deaths were reported Monday.

At least 511 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, with 126 of them in intensive care units.

As of Monday, 4% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.

More than 2.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses hadbeen administered in South Carolina, and more than 950,000 people in the state had “completed vaccination” as of Saturday, when the latest data was reported.

Are rural vaccination rates slowing herd immunity in Horry County?

With the help of COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Horry County is pushing to reach herd immunity, but some worry low vaccination rates in some rural areas could slow progress.

While the Myrtle Beach area has reached around 50% rate of vaccination among residents, areas such as Aynor, Green Sea, and Bucksport have just scratched 20%, The Sun News reported.

It’s something officials with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control are well aware of.

“We need to think about herd immunity as a community effort,” DHEC said in a statement to The Sun News. “If rural areas lag in vaccinations, we will continue to innovate finding ways to make vaccine access easier, and address vaccine hesitancy with information and outreach through trusted sources.”

To learn more about the challenge of vaccinating rural communities, and what officials are doing to help, read the rest of the story here.

Vaccine ‘fairies’ find and schedule appointments in SC

A pair of sisters have joined as volunteers with “Vaccine Fairy,” an organization helping to secure vaccine slots for strangers across the Carolinas and the U.S..

As “senior fairies,” twins Haley and Tirion Sheafor are up early each morning scouring online portals for CVS, Publix and other local pharmacies in hopes of scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for someone else.

The pair only joined recently after “Vaccine Fairy” launched in March. With the help of volunteers like the Sheafor sisters, the organization has helped find and schedule more than 10,000 appointments for people across the nation.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Hayley, who works in Charleston. “It’s just nice to know it’s something easy you can do for someone without having to put in a lot of effort.”

Read more about the organization here.

COVID-19 cases rise among Beaufort County’s younger residents

Beaufort County officials are seeing a shift in coronavirus infections as more residents get vaccinated, The Island Packet reported.

A push to prioritize residents aged 65 and older has led to about 78% of residents in that age group receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, according to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control data.

However, officials say they’re seeing an uptick in infections among younger residents, with those 30 and younger accounting for more than 40% of new cases in the county last month.

“We’ve seen a swing to some of the younger age groups, 15- to 34-year-olds, with regard to the cases,” said Dr. Michael Kacka, a physician and chief medical officer for COVID-19 at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Residents 16 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated, and state health officials are encouraging them to schedule an appointment.

Related stories from Myrtle Beach Sun News

Mitchell Willetts is a real-time news reporter covering the Carolinas for McClatchy. He is a University of Oklahoma graduate and outdoors enthusiast.

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