Staff reports | The South Carolina Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would ban some employers in the state from requiring workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a 29-12 vote along party lines.
The bill, which was originally passed by the state House of Representatives in December, prohibits state and local governments, including public school districts, from requiring their workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of attendance or employment. These groups would also be barred from enforcing requirements on those who volunteer or participate in activities, events or programs.
Workers who are fired for not complying with private employers’ shot requirements would also be eligible for unemployment benefits; however, senators rejected a motion to retroactively extend those benefits to those fired in the last nine months.
Meanwhile, a wave of COVID-19 infections is rattling Washington D.C., as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, next in line to the presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris, has become the latest top national official to test positive after two key Cabinet officials and members of Congress. Several other national politicians, including House Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Adam Schiff and others.
The high volume of breakthrough cases comes as masks have come off in the Capitol and crowded indoor events and other D.C. traditions have returned after pandemic-era absences. Health officials say, despite the localized outbreak, most cases are asymptomatic or mild.
Latest COVID-19 data
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month, with Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from March 27-April 2.
South Carolina health officials on Tuesday reported 951 total new cases of COVID-19, with 632 confirmed, and two total new deaths, both of which were confirmed. As of April 2, 132 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: 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.