COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Dillon, Florence and Pickens counties had the highest COVID-19 prevalence rates in the state in 2020, according to a new report.
Information released Wednesday from the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health, along with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, also reveals that the virus disproportionately impacted communities of color last year.
Of the infections, 58% were among white people, 28% were in the Black population and 10% were in Hispanic people. Black people, who make up 27% of the state’s population, consisted of 35% of deaths.
The report shows that the state had an average positivity rate for tests of 23.1% in December. From Jan. 1 to Jan. 24 of this month, that rate increased to 27.3% a day.
Of the more than 6,570 South Carolinians who have died of the virus, 16.3% of those deaths happened between Jan. 3 and 24. In the week leading up to Jan. 20, the state had the highest average of new cases per 100,000 people than anywhere else in the nation.
There have been 43 health care workers who have died from the virus. There have been more than 1,650 deaths in residents who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and 28 deaths among staff.
Jails, prisons and detention facilities have been considered a hot spot for the virus this month.
As of Jan. 24, the state had conducted more than 4.73 million tests and had a 21.7% positivity rate, four times higher than the recommended level for easing restrictions. The highest rate of positive tests was reported on Dec. 31, at a 29.9% rate.
That same day, 81.8% of all inpatient beds in South Carolina hospitals were occupied.
More than 277,000 doses of the COVID19 vaccine have been administered in the state. More than 313,000 are scheduled.
“COVID-19 continues to be an extraordinary public health and policy challenge for our state and country,” Maya Pack, the executive director of IMPH said in the report’s announcement.
Health officials continue to stress the importance of wearing a mask, physically distancing from others and going through routine testing.