One year since the first two suspected COVID-19 cases in our state, people across South Carolina have stepped up to support our state and each other during this unprecedented global pandemic. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) thanks South Carolinians for their commitment to taking actions to help end the pandemic and encouraged everyone to keep up the work.
“Together, with the support of many, DHEC employees remain steadfast in our commitment to saving lives and ending the worst pandemic our country has seen in over 100 years,” said DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer, MD. “As we mark more than a year in our fight against COVID-19, we reflect on our journey together and we thank our partners and all South Carolinians for your continued efforts to support our state and each other during this unprecedented time. Together, we will get through this and come out stronger and better.”
Earlier this week, South Carolina announced because of steady progress with the state’s phased COVID-19 vaccination plan, the state will advance to the next phase, Phase 1b, beginning Monday March 8.
“While great strides have been made to enhance access to vaccines in South Carolina, we recognize that our response to COVID-19 is not yet over,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. “The COVID-19 vaccine is our light at the end of the tunnel. Until enough of us can get vaccinated, we need everyone to do your part by continuing to wear your mask and stay six feet apart from others.”
On March 6, 2020, South Carolina announced it was investigating the first two possible COVID-19 cases in our state. As of early March 2021, South Carolina has:
• conducted more than 6 million tests through DHEC and other partners,
• increased contact tracing staff from 20 statewide before COVID-19 to more than 650,
• answered more than 292,000 calls to the CareLine and vaccination call center,
• given 1,003,558 COVID-19 vaccine shots,
• fully vaccinated 304,724 South Carolinians against COVID-19,
• held more than 33,000 testing events, with over 7,800 more scheduled through March 31, and
• much more.
To support these efforts 2,883 DHEC staff have worked 1,469,225 hours so far as part of the response.
South Carolinians Urged to Continue to Protect Themselves and Others
While thousands of South Carolinians continue to receive their COVID-19 vaccines each day, it will likely be fall before enough of the population is vaccinated and current public health precautions could be relaxed.
DHEC reminds all South Carolinians that until 70 to 80 percent of the population is vaccinated, everyone should take the same daily precautions that protect against the virus, even if you have been vaccinated. This means wearing your masks, staying six feet away from others, washing your hands often and getting tested regularly.
For the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.