The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed 2,736 new confirmed cases, 44 new probable cases of COVID-19, and 5 additional confirmed deaths on January 25.
During the first two weeks of 2021 alone, 45,210 South Carolinians were confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. This latest update brings the total number of confirmed cases in South Carolina to 379,775, probable cases to 41,642, confirmed deaths to 5,920, and 632 probable deaths.
This is occurring as South Carolina, like other states across the nation, continues to also face an unprecedented increase in patient hospitalizations, causing a decrease in the availability of beds in our Emergency Departments, hospitals, intensive care units (ICU) and supply of ventilators.
Hospitals Bed and Ventilator Use Up
As of the morning of January 25, acute care hospitals in South Carolina are nearing capacity and Emergency Departments are overwhelmed. Of the 11,285 inpatient beds currently being used for patient care, 2,201 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19. In addition, of the 1,772 ICU beds currently being used for patient care, 429 are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile of the 1,979 available ventilators, 673 are in use and 262 of those are COVID-19 patients. Many hospitals in the state are now cancelling elective services to deal with the overwhelming increase in the number of patients.
South Carolinians Encouraged to Know Their Status; Get Tested Regularly
DHEC strongly encourages South Carolinians to get tested regularly in order to know their status for COVID-19 and take action. As part of its mitigation strategy, DHEC continues to work with community partners across the state to increase access to COVID-19 testing. To date, South Carolina has conducted more than 4.69 million COVID-19 tests.
State Takes Mitigation Measures to Put Case and Contact Investigations to Best Use
Mitigation measures seek to put case and contact investigations to their best use possible to help public health officials focus on how best to prevent further spread of disease.
During the mitigation phase, efforts of contact investigation change from attempting to find the close contacts of each individual case to prioritizing case investigations of those who have tested positive for or were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 6 days.
South Carolinians should not expect individual notification that they were exposed to a case.
How Can You Help?
Everyone must play a role in preventing spread during the mitigation phase. Public health officials stress the importance of wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, staying home and away from other people when sick, and washing our hands often regardless of if cases have been reported in your immediate community.
“Our chance of getting the best outcome hinges on us all doing our part,” Dr. Traxler said. “We need South Carolinians to continue to stand together to fight this disease by taking small steps that make a big difference, including wearing your mask, getting tested and staying home when you’re sick, avoiding large gatherings, practicing physical distancing, and when it’s your turn, getting vaccinated.”
People with signs of illness must stay at home and avoid public gatherings.
For the latest information about COVID-19, visit scdhec.gov/covid19.