Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Staff reports | The state Department of Health and Environmental Control transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data this week, with Tuesday’s update being the first of weekly reports including data taken from March 12-15. 

“Tracking daily case numbers is less useful, especially with the rise of non-reportable at-home tests,” DHEC’s public health director Dr. Brannon Traxler said in a press release. “It’s much more useful to track severe cases, meaning those that unfortunately result in hospitalizations and deaths. That gives us a clearer picture of how the virus is impacting local communities.”

The change in reporting signifies the continued drop in demand for in-person testing and a rise in demand for reliable at-home tests. It also coincides with the shift in national attitude toward COVID-19, moving into an endemic phase as opposed to treating it as an ongoing pandemic. Part of the endemic phase ideology is guidance on how to live normal, safe lives with the continued presence of the virus. 

DHEC is also revamping COVID-19 content on its website, editing or removing pages based on demand and accuracy of reporting. The page on breakthrough cases and the page showing cases among those who are or are not vaccinated is no longer available as of March 15. Both page removals, they say, are due to the rise of home testing, which has resulted in skewed case counts, as well as the heightened focus on severe cases.

DHEC says it will continue gradually closing its COVID-19 testing sites in several more counties across the state through April 1, but will continue providing free rapid at-home antigen tests at its public health departments statewide, and will update its testing locator in real time to show which locations have them in stock.

Latest COVID-19 data

South Carolina health officials on Tuesday reported 986 total new cases of COVID-19, with 510 confirmed, and 145 new deaths, 46 of which were confirmed. Reports were taken between March 12-15. As of March 13, 249 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, 32.5% lower than last week. In addition, 27 COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated, 27% lower than last week. 

With 44,453 test results reported between March 12-15, 3.8% were confirmed positive.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 66.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 57.6%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 19.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 15.7%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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