COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — DHEC data shows Horry and Marion counties can have hybrid learning as disease activity drops from “high” to “medium” in this week’s Disease Activity update.

In addition to Horry and Marion counties, five other counties in the state are also now in the “medium” disease activity level. Last week, every county in the state was classified as “high” disease activity.

News13 reached out to the school districts in Horry and Marion counties to see if this update changes any of their plans.

Horry County Schools told News13 this will not change plans since the district’s re-opening plan has been approved by the SC Department of Education, which takes into consideration the weekly disease activity.

Marion County School District told News13 it will monitor the data over the next few weeks to see if it is a trend or just a dip in numbers.

“We are very pleased to see DHEC’s latest report showing the numbers for Marion and Horry are coming down,” the district said. “MCSD will continue to follow the trend over the next few weeks to ensure this truly is a trend and not a short lived dip in numbers. We will re-evaluate our situation following guidance received from the State Department of Education and make changes accordingly.”

Accelerate Ed says schools should not re-open for in-person classes until the level of disease activity is “low” for the county the school district is in. When a county gets to “medium disease activity,” hybrid learning can be used.

The percent positive has remained “high” in every county; however, the incidence rates have started to decrease in some counties.

The other counties dropping to “medium” disease activity are Lexington, Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens, and Oconee counties.

DHEC measures disease activity by the two-week incidence rate, the trend in the incidence rate, and the percent positive. To get out of the “high disease activity” level and introduce hybrid learning, a county needs to have a two-week incidence rate of 200 or less, a percent positive of less than 10%, and a stable or decreasing trend in the incidence rate.

Two-week incidence rate for counties in the News13 viewing area

Two-week incidence rate metrics:

  • Low: 0 – 50
  • Medium: 51 – 200
  • High: 201 and above

Percent positive for counties in the News13 viewing area

Percent positive metrics:

  • Low: 0% – 5.0%
  • Medium: 5.1% – 9.9%
  • High: 10.0% and above

Trend in incidence rate for counties in the News13 viewing area

  • Horry: Low
  • Marion: Low
  • Dillon: Low
  • Marlboro: High
  • Darlington: Low
  • Florence: Low
  • Georgetown: Low

A low trend means the incidence rate is decreasing, a medium trend means the incidence rate is stable, and a high incidence rate means the incidence rate is increasing.