COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — About 44% more COVID-19-positive individuals were in the hospital last week compared to averages over the last month, according to data released Tuesday from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

There were 538 COVID-19 patients in South Carolina hospitals, as of late Saturday night, a 13.3% increase from the previous week. Among those, 77 were in intensive care units, and 23 were on a ventilator.

Last week also saw a 29.5% increase in cases compared to weekly averages over the last month, at 16,570 cases reported to DHEC. Testing was up 17.5% over the same timeframe, and the number of weekly deaths was down more than 72%.

The update brings South Carolina’s totals to about 1.6 million cases and 18,192 deaths.

While down .8% from the previous week, the number of vaccine doses administered last week was up 22.7% higher than the previous month’s averages.

Overall, about 60.6% of eligible South Carolinians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 52.6% have completed vaccination.

According to the most recent map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six South Carolina counties are considered to have a “low” COVID-19 case level, an upgrade from data a few weeks prior. Of the remaining counties, 11 were considered to have a “medium” level, and the rest were still ranked as “high.”

Under CDC guidance, people who live in areas rated with a “medium” level and who are considered at-risk are urged to wear a mask. In areas with “high” levels, masking is recommended for all people — regardless of vaccination status — in schools and workplaces.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the CDC had every South Carolina county in News13’s coverage area — Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Horry, Marion and Marlboro — in the “high” category.