CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina health officials have seen a slight increase in COVID-19 cases over the past month.

Conway Medical Center leaders said they’re seeing a slight uptick in cases in the community, but not with hospitalizations and deaths.

Conway Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Richardson said most of what the hospital is seeing is people with mild symptoms.

An uptick in cases can be caused by a variety of things like infected people going to congregate settings and from new variants arising, according to Richardson.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is now treating COVID-19 as an endemic virus, or a virus that circulates in the community like the flu. Richardson said he foresees that shift happening.

“We will have these upticks. You know, we probably will see vaccinations settle into who knows what kind of pattern, or how often. I think the jury is still out on that one, we don’t know yet,” Richardson said.

DHEC officials said that while the virus isn’t going away, the agency is equipped with the resources needed to operate with manageable levels of COVID-19 in the community.

Over the last month, the average number of cases a day for South Carolina slightly rose to almost 400. Hospitalizations slightly rose, as well.

“We’re not seeing a corresponding increase in ICU admissions, people having to go to intensive care or people having to be put on ventilators. So again that tells me even if we’re seeing a few more people hospitalized, they are not as severe as maybe we’ve seen in the past,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s public health director said.

As the Grand Strand gears up for the spring and summer season, state health officials said it is important to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and stay up to date on booster shots.

“When you’re following that community levels map, the CDC has if your county goes to yellow, currently South Carolina is all green thankfully, but if it goes to yellow, then you need to start evaluating your risk and your loved ones’ risk,” Traxler said.

DHEC officials said COVID-19 is an endemic virus because cases are now occurring at more manageable levels, and with the use of vaccines and treatments they feel they can keep it that way.