COVID Vaccine Live Updates: Here’s What To Know In South Carolina On Sept. 15

By Tanasia Kenney

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.

COVID-related deaths in SC approach 10,000

At least 653,430 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 9,999 have died in South Carolina since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 2,409 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, 1,143 more cases than reported the day before. The state also confirmed 110 additional coronavirus-related deaths.

At least 2,548 people in the state were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Wednesday, with 610 patients being treated in intensive care units. Also, 425 patients were reported on ventilators.

As of Wednesday, 12.6% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.

Nearly 50% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and more than 58% have received at least one dose, according to health officials.

Where are COVID hot spots in Horry County?

Coronavirus cases have dipped slightly across Horry County, but some communities are faring better than others.

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The county reported more than 2,220 new COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sept. 12, an improvement from the 3,138 cases reported the week before, according to a data analysis by The Sun News.

Read the full analysis here.

Richland Co. approves emergency mask mandate

The Richland County Council has passed an emergency mask mandate requiring residents to mask up in most public places, including schools, The State reported.

The ordinance passed in a 9-2 vote. Starting Wednesday, residents will have to wear a mask in commercial spaces and other crowded areas. Those caught without one will face a $25 fine. Employers are also required to enforce the new mask rule.

Councilwoman Gretchen Barron, who voted in favor of the mask requirement, cited the spread of COVID-19 and its risk to those too young to be vaccinated.

“I wear a mask for those other people,” she said.

SC DHEC won’t push for mask mandate in schools. Here’s why

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it won’t issue a universal order requiring masks in schools, despite pressure from parents concerned about the rising COVID-19 cases among school-age children, The State reported.

The surge in cases has forced thousands of students, staff and teachers into quarantine and interrupted in-person learning at schools across the state. DHEC Director Edward Simmer said while he understands parents’ concerns, a sweeping school mask mandate isn’t enforceable.

“An order that I cannot enforce is not effective,” he told the newspaper. “And right now I’m convinced that if I wrote an order, it could not be enforced.”

Read the full story here.

SC lawmakers join effort to repeal state’s school mask ban

Two South Carolina lawmakers, one Democrat and one Republican, have joined a bipartisan effort requesting a special legislative session to repeal a temporary budget proviso banning face mask mandates in schools, according to The State.

Rep. Jermaine Johnson, D-Richland, and state Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, are asking for an emergency session to do away with the controversial rule as schools across the state see an uptick in COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

“When the House and Senate passed Proviso 1.108 earlier this year, it looked like the pandemic was winding down and would soon be in the rear-view mirror,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “The situation has changed,”

They further argued that mask mandates and other COVID-related decisions should be left up to local government leaders.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has been staunchly opposed to mask mandates and previously signed an executive order barring local school districts from enforcing them.

Masks remain optional at Horry Co. schools, worrying teachers

Hundreds of Horry County students are back in class. However, with face masks and other COVID-19 measures remaining largely optional, teachers and staff have voiced concern.

The Horry County School district has reported more than 2,200 cases among students and staff so far this year, The Sun News reported, citing district data. Nearly a quarter of the student population was also in quarantine at one point.

“I certainly thought that this could be an impending disaster,” St. James High School English teacher Jerry Moore recalled thinking to himself on the first day back at school. “And unfortunately so far, that’s the direction the data has gone.”

Read the full story here.

Emergency financial assistance offered to Lowcountry renters

Tenants in Beaufort and Jasper counties who have fallen behind on rent or utilities could receive much-needed help, thanks to an upcoming event in Ridgeland.

This weekend, residents can apply for financial assistance via a $272 million program aimed at “keeping South Carolinians in their homes” as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, The Island Packet reported. Eligible residents could get up to a year’s worth of assistance for rent and past due bills, dating back to March 13, 2020.

Some Lowcountry renters may also qualify for three months of rental assistance for the future.

The event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Antioch Education Center at 7557 W. Main St. in Ridgeland.

To learn more, read the full story here.

This story was originally published September 15, 2021 7:07 AM.

Source : https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/south-carolina/article254244818.html

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