Photo courtesy MUSC Health

To handle the influx of COVID-19 response news in South Carolina, officials have announced a new hotline to handle the volume of calls to the state’s public health agency.

S.C. health officials announced in the last week that both a COVID-19 variant initially detected in South Africa and another variant first reported in the U.K. have made their way to South Carolina.

Public health experts agree that the available vaccines are still equipped to protect people from these variants, though it is unclear how effective vaccines are against variants at this time.

On Monday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported another 2,130 confirmed cases out of 9,870 individual tests—21.6% positive.

DHEC announced on Monday that they are looking to immediately fill job positions including microbiologist and chemist to speed up the COVID-19 response in the state.

Due to an extremely high number of incoming calls, DHEC also decided to launch a new COVID-19 hotline staffed by roughly 300 employees to help answer questions about the vaccine and help eligible individuals schedule vaccination appointments.

You can reach the COVID-19 vaccine call center by contacting 1-866-365-8110 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day of the week.