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SC sees steady increase in COVID numbers ahead of school year

A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Radoslav Zilinsky
Getty Images
A computer rendering of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

It's a familiar time of year. Summer vacations are winding down. Children are returning to school. And COVID-19 activity is on the rise.

Hospitalizations in South Carolina have jumped 60% since August 1st, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 tracker. CDC recorded roughly 4,500 COVID tests through August 12, of which more than 12% returned positive test results.

Dr. Martha Buchanan, lead medical consultant with Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), said activity is likely higher than that.

"There are a lot of people are positive for COVID that we don't know about because they tested at home and they didn't call us and tell us they had COVID," said Dr. Buchanan.

Still, it's different than previous three years. Dr. Buchanan described it as a "slow and steady going up," during a time when kids return to school and respiratory illnesses typically take hold.

Dr. Martha Buchanan
Dr. Martha Buchanan

Dr. Buchanan said the best way to protect against COVID is to get vaccinated and practice infection disease guidelines, like washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough, and staying home when sick.


Currently, about 54.1% of eligible South Carolinians have completed a two-dose vaccination series. The rate of vaccination increases when looking at people ages 12 and older; 60.9% of that demographic has completed a two-dose series.

Vaccinations drop significantly for children ages 5 to 11. About 19.7% of that group is fully vaccinated. The rate is 2.3% for kids five and under.

Vince Kolb-Lugo was SC Public Radio's local All Things Considered host until his departure in 2024.