We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
Cases top 458,000
At least 458,723 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina and 7,928 have died since the pandemic began last March, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Saturday reported 720 new COVID-19 cases, up from 603 reported the day before.
Nine coronavirus-related deaths were also reported.
At least 560 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in the state as of Saturday.
As of Saturday, 4.9% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.
More than 1 million South Carolina residents have started vaccination and more than 550,000 have completed vaccination as of Thursday, the latest date for which data are available.
SC nursing homes must offer indoor visits in most instances
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Carolina must now allow indoor visitation at all times and for all residents, except in specific circumstances and for specific residents, the S.C. DHEC says.
Indoor visitation at long-term care facilities may be restricted for only unvaccinated residents when the positivity rate in the county is higher than 10% and fewer than 70% of facility residents are fully vaccinated. Visitation may be restricted for residents infected with COVID-19 or quarantining due to COVID-19.
An entire facility can restrict indoor visitation only immediately after a new coronavirus case has been identified and the facility is testing residents and staff to determine the extent of the outbreak.
“Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as their families and friends, benefit emotionally, mentally and physically from being able to see their loved ones,” Nick Davidson, DHEC’s senior deputy for Public Health, said in a statement about the change. “While visitation limitations were necessary for protecting the health of residents during the pandemic, current recommendations are now to allow for visitation with disease prevention protocols in place.”
Can SC, NC residents cross state lines for the vaccine?
Expanded eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine has people asking if they can cross state lines to receive a dose.
So far, South Carolina state health officials haven’t released guidance on whether nonresidents can travel there to get vaccinated, the Rock Hill Herald reported.
However, state and local agencies are encouraging people to get immunized in their state of residence.
“We know that we have soft borders between states and between counties,” South Carolina state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell told reporters Wednesday. “So we’re not looking to impose really strict residency requirements on people who can be vaccinated.”
The rules are different in North Carolina, where health providers are allowed to deny the vaccine to those who do not live, work or receive medical care in the state.
Columbia announces opening dates for city pools
Columbia says it will reopen city pools and park buildings after one year of being closed.
Outdoor public pools are slated to open Memorial Day weekend, city officials said.
Community and family wellness centers at local parks will reopen to the public on May 3.
“We feel good about it,” Assistant City Manager Henry Simons said, according to The State. “There have been some requests, in particular, from our citizens, as well as some of our (swim) teams in the community that want to practice. I think it is a relief to have pools available. We will follow CDC guidelines in everything that we do as we come back.”