We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
Cases exceed 483,000
At least 483,317 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 8,383 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 398 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, down from 456 reported the day before.
Four coronavirus-related deaths were reported.
At least 409 people were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus on Monday, with 105 patients in intensive care units.
As of Monday, 4.3% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower indicates a low risk of community spread.
More than 1.3 million South Carolina residents, or about 32%, have completed vaccination as of Saturday, and more than 1.7 million, or about 42%, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Midlands school board to consider changing student mask rules
As pressure mounts to do away with face mask rules, the Lexington-Richland 5 school board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to hear public comment and discuss the student mask policy, The State reported.
Gov. Henry McMaster said last week that requiring students to wear masks is the “height of ridiculosity.” However, the state Department of Education maintains it will not change its stance that students cover their faces for the rest of the school year during in-person classes.
Some parents have said individual school districts should be allowed to decide for themselves.
More women than men getting vaccinated in SC
South Carolina men lag far behind women when it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID-19, data shows.
Statewide, 44.5% of eligible women have received at least one dose of the vaccine compared with 34.5% of eligible men, The Sun News reports, citing the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
This trend held true in Horry County, where nearly 50% of women have gotten shots while only about 43% of men have received theirs. Health officials are surprised, however, and attributed the disparity to women being more proactive about their health.
“The United States is similar to other countries where men may be more stoic and may be less likely to talk about sensitive issues or concerns they have with their health,” said Rachel Mayo, a public health professor at Clemson University.
SC sees drop in demand for coronavirus vaccine
South Carolina health officials say appointment slots for COVID-19 vaccines are going unfilled due to a significant slowdown in demand, The State reported.
“Remember the early days where people would talk about (how) they’d drive an hour, two hours to get to some place to get that precious appointment and get vaccinated?” assistant state epidemiologist Jane Kelly said. “We may now be entering an era where people are not as willing or not able to do something as dramatic as that, so we need to bring vaccine to the people.”
This week, the state ordered 47,000, or about 33%, of the 141,000 doses allotted to South Carolina.
Public health officials are now working to pinpoint reasons for the dwindling demand in coronavirus shots.