COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina has now passed one million total COVID cases since the pandemic began, even as the state also announced the state had shattered the daily record for new COVID-19 cases, as the state has seen an unprecedented surge in the spread of the virus over the last two weeks.
The state's health agency, SCDHEC, announced the new milestones Tuesday. They say the one million mark was crossed on New Year's Day.
“This milestone is another reminder that COVID-19 has caused one of the most severe pandemics our nation and state has ever seen, and with the Omicron variant, we unfortunately are seeing record numbers of cases," said DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer. “COVID-19 is here to stay, but working together we can control it and limit its impact on our lives. By getting maximally vaccinated (the initial series of shots and getting the booster when eligible), wearing masks and social distancing when appropriate, and seeking testing/treatment when needed we can reduce the spread and prevent most hospitalizations and deaths.”
The agency also released four days worth of data on Tuesday. The reason for the lag was the weekend and the holiday.
In those numbers there was a new all-time one day high of 10,629 cases, recorded on Thursday, December 30. That's nearly 2,000 more than the previous record of 8,882 that was announced on New Year's Eve. What's more, during that four day time frame, the state crossed 10,000 cases a second time, with 10,543.
These days represent the first time during the entire pandemic that the state has crossed 10,000 daily cases. Before the recent surge, the previous record was just over 7,600, set nearly a year ago.
Over the four day span, there were over 32,000 total cases. There have been 50,653 cases over the last week, the worst week of the pandemic ever in the state.
The omicron variant, which experts say is more transmissible, is behind the surge. Combined with holiday travel and group gatherings.
Richland County has been the epicenter of the spike, recording a record 1,452 cases on December 31 alone. Lexington County set an all-time mark with 852.
The situation mirrors what's been happening across the country. Monday, the United States topped 1 million new COVID infections for the first time during the pandemic.
Hospitalizations statewide are also seeing a sharp increase. There were 1,288 people hospitalized with COVID, up 67 percent from the week before, and 265 people in ICU, up 47 percent.
Here were the numbers released across the four days in the latest DHEC data.
Sunday, January 2 - 5,491 cases
Saturday, January 1 - 8,331 cases
Friday, December 31 - 10,543 cases
Thursday, December 30 - 10,629 cases
Information on Getting Tested:
Due to increases in the number of people being tested for COVID-19, South Carolinians should prepare for longer wait times (1-2 hours) at testing locations. DHEC encourages those wishing to get tested to plan ahead. DHEC and its testing contractors have been working to increase testing capacity at sites, in order to increase throughput, as well as to ensure turn-around times in labs remain at 24 to 48 hours.
Free testing and vaccinations can be found at county health departments throughout South Carolina.
To find a vaccination site, or to get more information about vaccines and boosters, check out the link at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine
To find a testing site, go to the link at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-locations. Note that some private pharmacies, health care and doctor's offices are charging or requiring insurance for certain tests.