HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — All six of News13’s South Carolina coverage counties have been moved from a “low” to a “moderate” COVID-19 incidence rate, as of data Thursday from DHEC.
Of the state’s 46 counties, only 11 remain in the “low” incident rate category, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
In June, all of the six counties in News13’s coverage area — Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties — were in the “low” incident rate category. So were all but only four counties in South Carolina.
The agency defines a “low” incidence rate as between 0 and 50 new, confirmed cases over a two-week period, per a rate of 100,000 people. The “moderate” category is considered between 51 and 200 new cases, and “high” is more than 200 new cases.
On Tuesday, DHEC reported 474 new confirmed cases statewide and 455 probable cases. On Monday, the state reported 467 new cases and 249 probable cases. That’s a steep increase from June, when the daily new cases for the state were often below 100.
“We are seeing significant increases in cases and hospitalizations among these younger groups, and the recent uptick in cases has been almost entirely among those who are not vaccinated,” Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director, said on Thursday.
Both Tidelands Health and Conway Medical Center said their currently hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were not vaccinated.
“I think this is more proof positive,” said Dr. Paul Richardson, chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center. “This thing has not gone away by any stretch of the imagination.”
Vaccinations are more important than ever due to increased cases of the Delta variant and other Variants of Concern identified by the CDC. These variants have made COVID-19 more transmissible and increase the risk of severe sickness, hospitalization, and death.