Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Staff reports | The Biden administration announced Monday its plan to end the Covid-19 public health emergency May 11, according to The New York Times. The change will usher in a crescendo of complicated public health policy changes, signaling a new era for America. 

One of the more impactful changes will affect the availability of free Covid tests, treatments and vaccines, The Times reported. The changes in policy may eliminate access to free Covid testing, at-home testing kits and vaccinations. Out-of-pocket costs will apply to services that were previously free under the public health emergency.

Because the public health emergency has been in place for the entirety of Biden’s time in office, the White House emphasized a need for an organized approach to the transition. The May 11 declaration is designed to give health officials, hospitals and health care providers adequate time to prepare for protocol changes. 

State health officials encourage residents to refer to the CDC’s community levels map to track the severity of Covid-19. As of Jan. 31, Charleston County’s community level is low, which is in line with the previous reporting period. 

For the week ending Jan. 28, Covid-related hospitalizations in Charleston were down 19.7% in comparison to the week ending Jan. 21. For the week ending Jan. 28, state officials reported 48 people died from Covid-19 — 28 more deaths than the previous week. In this period, 5,627 new cases were reported — 962 fewer than the previous reporting period.

Latest COVID-19 data

As of Dec. 20, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) will no longer include data on ventilations and weekly trends due to a new system of tracking adopted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

SCDHEC transitioned to weekly reporting of new Covid data in December 2022. The most recent numbers were reported Tuesday and covered Jan. 15-21. In other data:

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 69.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 60.6%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 23.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 19.5%

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

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