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White House suggests flexibility in vaccine deadlines

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said the Biden administration could be flexible in its enforcement of the president’s executive order requiring federal workers and government contractors to vaccinate staff.

The vaccine mandate aims to protect federal workers and those they interact with from COVID-19, Zients clarified in a statement, asserting the penalty for noncompliance is not a punishment for not getting vaccinated, but a precautionary measure for others.

Federal employees face a vaccination deadline of Nov. 22, and contractors face a Dec. 8 deadline.

Aside from federal employees, private companies are seeing employee vaccination rates on the rise. About 99.7% of United Airlines employees are vaccinated, as well as 96% of workers at Tyson Foods.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials reported 729 total cases of COVID-19 Oct. 28, with 433 confirmed. A total of 66 new deaths, 50 confirmed, were also reported Thursday.

With 15,067 tests reported, 4.5% were confirmed positive.

Percentage of S.C. residents with at least one vaccine: 62.5%
Percentage of S.C. residents who have completed vaccination: 54.8%