South Carolina health officials announced late Thursday that the state will shift its efforts from containment to community mitigation to slow the spread of the coronavirus as case numbers set new records in recent weeks.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 1,845 new cases of the coronavirus and 93 COVID-19-related deaths today. With 11,153 tests reported, 16.5% were confirmed positive. However, DHEC is still experiencing an internal systems issue, leading to reduced total case and death numbers being reported.

In the shift to mitigation, South Carolina residents are being called on to continue taking actions health experts know work, like wearing masks and distancing.

“Until the COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available and enough people are vaccinated, we must all act now or continue to face unprecedented numbers of cases that are overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare systems, as well as taking the lives of those we love,” said DHEC Interim Public Health Director Brannon Traxler. “To do that, every one of us must recommit to the fight. We are all on the frontlines. If we don’t act now, we could face many dark months ahead.”

The move from disease containment, in which the effort is made to control the spread of disease, to a disease mitigation phase occurs when cases of disease are widespread and difficult to investigate one by one.

According to DHEC’s reports, during the first two weeks of 2021 alone, 45,210 South Carolinians were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in South Carolina to 337,845, probable cases to 33,335, confirmed deaths to 5,420, and 514 probable deaths.