Photo by the CDC on Unsplash

Staff reports | The number of COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals has fallen to the lowest level since the early days of the pandemic, giving health care providers a much-needed break after the record-setting omicron surge. 

Hospitalizations have fallen more than 90% in two months, and some hospitals in the country are going days without a single patient in the ICU for the first time since early 2020. Hospitals are expected to retain more staff, treat non-COVID patients more quickly and cut down on inflated costs as beds continue to open. 

“We should all be smiling that the number of people sitting in the hospital right now with COVID, and people in intensive care units with COVID, are at this low point,” University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi told The Associated Press.

Health experts, however, are still warning that the public health community needs to keep an eye on the BA.2 subvariant of omicron, which is driving rampant hospitalizations and skyrocketing infections in other countries. Salemi added health experts are likely under-detecting infections more than any other time during the pandemic due to the lull in COVID numbers. 

Latest COVID-19 data

Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data this month, with last Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from March 20-26.

South Carolina health officials on Tuesday reported 1,095 total new cases of COVID-19, with 650 confirmed, and 10 total new deaths, 8 of which were confirmed. As of March 26, 171 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and 14 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: 66.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 19.8%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16%

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