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Staff reports  | The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) updated its guidelines for childcare centers and K-12 schools in order to better keep children safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We are consistent in our stance that recommendations should reflect the latest COVID-19 trends and data,” DHEC public health director Dr. Brannon Traxler said in a press release. “We are glad to see cases declining in recent weeks, and we are updating our guidance to reflect that trend while maintaining our focus on keeping children in person at school safely. That said, we must continue increasing our vaccinations, masking when appropriate and following other protocols if we want to see this trend continue and ultimately end this pandemic.”

The new guidelines include a recommendation for implementing Test to Stay rules at childcare centers, similar to the one being used by school districts statewide. In addition, standards for schools include a multitude of changes to quarantine guidelines and masking after close contacts. 

DHEC no longer strongly recommends universal mask requirements in schools; however, the agency strongly encourages individuals to wear face masks when possible, especially when the school’s surrounding community has substantial or high transmission or when there is an outbreak in a class.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials on Monday reported 1,593 total new cases of COVID-19, with 1,188 confirmed, and no new deaths.

Over the weekend, 9,385 total new cases were reported, with 3,783 reported Friday, 3,224 reported Saturday and 2,378 reported Sunday. A total of 107 deaths were also reported between Friday and Sunday. 

With 16,194 tests reported Monday, 9.1% were positive, continuing a downward trend for the positivity rate in South Carolina. 

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 17.9%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 13.3%

For more information, visit the S.C. DHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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