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 475,000
At least 475,601 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 8,222 have died since March 2020, according to state data.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Sunday reported 577 new COVID-19 cases, down from 616 reported the day before.
Fourteen coronavirus-related deaths were also reported.
At least 508 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday.
As of Sunday, 4.5% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower indicates a low risk of community spread.
More than 1.07 million South Carolina residents had completed COVID-19 vaccination as of Friday.
Few fully vaccinated people in SC contract virus
Health officials have discovered a small number of COVID-19 cases among South Carolinians who have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
The “breakthrough cases” are extremely rare and are typically mild, health officials say. But it’s important to track them to possibly identify new mutations of the virus if they emerge.
They also provide insight into the effectiveness of the vaccines for patients who have weakened immune systems and struggle to fight off infections.
As of April 8, officials had reported 155 breakthrough cases among the 893,400 people in South Carolina who had been fully vaccinated by that time. Seventeen of those patients were hospitalized and at least one person died, officials told The State.
If all of the 155 breakthrough cases were found among S.C. residents, .01% of fully vaccinated South Carolinians experienced a rare post-vaccination infection and roughly .001% were hospitalized.
Experts told The State the low percentages prove the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.
Some businesses require masks as Beaufort County ends mandate
Some Beaufort County governments are starting to lift their mask mandates — but health officials are still urging residents to wear them, and some private businesses are still requiring them.
Beaufort County, Bluffton and Port Royal have opted to allow their mask requirements to expire. The Town of Hilton Head Island and the City of Beaufort are the last municipalities in the county with face mask requirements.
But some businesses plan to keep their own rules in place.
“As a private business, you can decide whether you allow customers or visitors onto your property if they are not wearing a mask. This is similar to the ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ policy that you commonly see,” Fisher Phillips LLP, a national law firm that focuses on employment and labor issues, said, according to The Island Packet.
Many national businesses still require masks, and their rules don’t change when local governments lift mandates.
Spokespeople for CVS, Best Buy, Kroger and Walmart, for example, told The Island Packet that their companies still have nationwide mask requirements for shoppers and employees.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends the use of face masks in public, even for people who have been fully vaccinated.