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Gatherings, not omicron responsible for COVID uptick, DHEC says

New COVID infections and the rate of positive tests have been steadily going up over the last 30 days, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

But, the omicron variant has still not been detected in South Carolina, leading experts to believe that higher numbers of social gatherings during the holiday season has caused the increase. Yet, state health officials have not ruled out the possibility of the new variant leading to a significant acceleration of new infections later, especially when combined with recent record-breaking travel numbers in the U.S.

According to DHEC and the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, omicron has not been shown to cause more severe illness compared to the delta variant, but may be more resistance to antibodies from previous infection.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 718 total cases of COVID-19 Dec. 14, with 538 confirmed. A total of 14 new deaths, with 11 confirmed, were also reported.

With 10,421 tests reported Tuesday, 7.1% were confirmed positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 64.0%
Percentage of of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 55.6%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 9.6%
Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 4.8%