Get vaccinated ‘as soon as possible,’ S.C. health chief urges

Here's a look at some pf today's top COVID-19 coverage from News 12.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:34 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The chief of South Carolina’s public health agency says Monday’s full regulatory approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is another sign of how safe and effective the vaccines are.

The Pfizer vaccine has been under an emergency use authorization. The main difference between that and full Food and Drug Administration approval is the length of time spent studying those who have received the vaccine.

“Anyone who has remained hesitant about the vaccines should use this full approval as motivation to get the two-dose Pfizer vaccine as soon as possible,” said a statement issue Monday by Dr. Edward Simmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC has no plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations for the 2021-2022 academic year in K-12 schools.

“We continue to encourage vaccination and the use of masks, even among those who are fully vaccinated, until enough of the population is fully vaccinated and we can stifle this virus and its variants,” the statement sad. “Masks should be worn in any indoor group setting, including in schools and on buses, to help limit disease spread.”

Two-state stats

The highly contagious delta variant of coronavirus continues to sweep the country, raising hospitalizations far above what they had been a few weeks ago.

The Peach State on Monday reported 16,915 new cases of COVID-19 and 71 deaths. As of Friday, Georgia had seen a 70 percent increase in COVID-19 cases in the past week.

Meanwhile, South Carolina reported a three-day total of more than 13,000 new COVID-19 cases on Monday afternoon. As of Friday, the state had seen a roughly 48 percent increase in one week.

South Carolina reports numbers on a 48-hour delay and only on weekdays. So Monday’s figures included 4,602 cases and 46 deaths from Thursday, 3,124 cases and 27 deaths from Friday, and 2,475 cases and 45 deaths from Saturday.

Looking at Richmond County, Friday marked the highest number of cases since February, with 123. For Columbia County, Friday’s 79 cases were the highest in one day since January.

How hospitals are coping

The trend we’re seeing is still one where a majority of people hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated.

Here’s a look at the latest statistics on local hospitalizations Monday:

  • University Hospital: 106 inpatients, 10 of whom are vaccinated. Of the 96 unvaccinated inpatients, 18 are in intensive care and 13 are on ventilators. One of the vaccinated patients is in ICU and on a ventilator.
  • Augusta University Health: 99 inpatients, only three of whom have been vaccinated. Of the 48 patients in ICU and 36 on ventilators, two have been vaccinated. Two AU inpatients are children.
  • Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center: 18 inpatients, including nine in ICU.
  • Doctors Hospital: 61 inpatients.
  • Aiken Regional Medical Center: 50 inpatients, including 10 in ICU.

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