MUSC says it saw increases in kids admitted for COVID-19 in August and September | Credit: MUSC Facebook

Staff reports | Omicron BA.2, aka stealth omicron, is driving case numbers back to the top of the charts across the nation, and Charleston-area health-care providers say it’s only a matter of time before the surge reaches the Lowcountry. 

Dr. Michael Sweat, director of the MUSC’s Center for Global Health, said we’re likely to see the surge sooner than others may predict. 

“Infection rates are up 40% in the last two weeks across the U.S., and in the Northeast, they’re particularly high,” he told the City Paper. “If you look at previous years, we’ve had these summer waves, and with this even more transmissible subvariant, it’s sure to happen again.”

But whether the coming surge will be as bad as the record-setting omicron wave is yet to be seen. 

“If we just look at Europe, there’s no reason to think what happened there won’t happen here,” Sweat said. “There’s some magical thinking when numbers get low — we all want it to go away, The curves do seem to be flattening out about a third of the way up to the point the omicron surge hit, and i’m sure the reason for that is that if you’ve gotten the original strain of omicron — which just happened — you have strong immunity to BA.2. People who got BA.1 tend to not even get BA.2, and that’s probably putting the brakes on its ability to spread.”

Sweat said the biggest question remaining is how big of an impact the surge will have on area hospitals, as hospitalization rates remain difficult to predict. 

Latest COVID-19 data

In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month, with last Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 3-9.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,071 total new cases of COVID-19, with 711 confirmed, and five total new deaths, three of which were confirmed. As of April 9, 108 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and 10 COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

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