Editor’s note: After moving to weekly updates this spring, we’re restarting daily COVID-19 updates as the state experiences increased cases.

What you need to know this week: The state Department of Health and Environmental Control has encouraged masking up and urged lawmakers to give school districts the choice as to whether they impose mask mandates, but the department’s authority to take farther action isn’t as clear-cut.

DHEC director of media relations Ron Aiken said in a statement to WIS-TV that state law allows the department to act in local emergencies without review by the General Assembly, the body that prohibited mask mandates in schools with a proviso in the recently passed state budget.

However, these emergency measures are for specific scenarios not foreseen by the legislature, Aiken said, cutting into the department’s ability to impose safety measures themselves.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 4,245 total cases of COVID-19 Aug. 26, with 3,259 confirmed. A total of 56 new deaths, with 48 confirmed, were reported Thursday, double the number of confirmed fatalities compared to the day before.

With 27,573 tests reported, 15.8% were confirmed positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents with at least 1 vaccine: 55.7%
Percentage of S.C. residents who have completed vaccination: 46.9%

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.