We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than 400 new cases reported
At least 465,142 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 8,075 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday reported 474 new COVID-19 cases, up from 344 reported the day before.
Nineteen coronavirus-related deaths were also reported Wednesday.
At least 516 people were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus in the state as of Wednesday, with 124 patients in the ICU.
As of Wednesday, 6.6% 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.
About 1.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in South Carolina, and more than 675,000 people in the state have “completed vaccination” as of Sunday, the last day new data was reported.
Myrtle Beach loosens mask rules
Masks are no longer required in most public spaces in Myrtle Beach, The Sun News reported.
City Manager Fox Simons issued an order Wednesday that encourages people to wear masks, but ultimately leaves the decision up to individual businesses whether to require them.
Masks must still be worn in government buildings.
“Businesses have the option of requiring masks in indoor public spaces if their staff and patrons are concerned about contracting COVID-19 from each other, and we encourage them to exercise that option,” Simons said in a statement.
Legislators push to reopen schools
While most South Carolina public school districts already have resumed in-person classes five days a week, or are moving toward it, some South Carolina legislators are forcing the issue.
The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to require all schools to return to five-day instruction by April 12.
There are currently 236 schools offering hybrid education models, and one doing remote learning only.
Only three school districts in the state don’t have plans to resume in-person classes in the next two to three weeks: Colleton, Hampton 1 and Hampton 2.
Mask rules extended in Beaufort
Beaufort’s citywide mask mandate will remain in effect through the end of April, The Island Packet reported.
City council members voted Tuesday to extend the mandate for another month, and urged residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We feel an extension of 30 days will give us the opportunity to see what’s happening,” City Manager Bill Prokop said. “At the last count, our positive rate was just below 5%, but we still do not have enough people who have their vaccination.”
The inoculation rate in Beaufort is at 33%.
SC governor sends $6 million to address internet deserts
Gov. Henry McMaster announced Tuesday that he will use $6 million of the state’s federal COVID-19 funds to help address broadband deserts, The State reported.
The funding was awarded to the University of South Carolina, which will team with Benedict College to establish eight Apple computer labs across the the state. Each lab will be available to the public, free of charge, according to the governor’s office.
Internet accessibility issues have been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic, especially as businesses switched to remote work and schools pivoted to online learning.
“The strategic placement of these labs will bolster South Carolina’s premier workforce training efforts by giving our communities and people access to resources they need to expand participation in our state’s growing economy,” McMaster said in a statement.