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| Credit: Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

South Carolina health officials reported more than 20,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the new year’s holiday weekend, with the state’s pandemic total now over 1 million suspected and confirmed cases.

MORE: Jan. 4 COVID-19 update: 4,568 new cases, 2 deaths; 27.9% positive

After a record-setting Friday with 6,319 confirmed cases reported, cases continued rising over the holiday weekend, with 6,974 cases Saturday and 7,985 cases Sunday, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today. (DHEC reporting was delayed Monday due to the holiday.)

Cases have remained high since the weekend, with more than 4,400 cases reported today.

“In less than two years, COVID-19 has infected over 1,000,000 of our citizens and impacted the lives of all of us,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, director of DHEC, in a press release.

“COVID-19 is here to stay, but working together we can control it and limit its impact on our lives.  By getting maximally vaccinated (the initial series of shots and getting the booster when eligible), wearing masks and social distancing when appropriate, and seeking testing/treatment when needed we can reduce the spread and prevent most hospitalizations and deaths,” he said.

The return from the Christmas travel season was marked last week by increased lines at testing sites and difficult-to-find at-home tests.

The state’s grand total of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases now sits at 1.01 million, according to the latest DHEC figures. Percent positive rates and almost every other key indicator are trending upward.

While the dominant omicron variant of COVID-19 is less-severe, the variant’s high-infectiousness has increased use of hospital resources. The number of COVID-19-positive individuals in S.C. hospitals is up more than 67% over last week and the number of positive individuals on ventilators has jumped more than 50%, according to DHEC.