Here’s how SC ranks in COVID-19 vaccination rate, hospitalizations, deaths

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:00 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 11:42 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - More than half of the people who are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are considered fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says the state has reached a 53.5% vaccination rate among those who are approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

One is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The percentage rises to 61.4% for eligible South Carolinians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Charleston County has the highest rate of residents per 10,000 who have completed vaccination while Dorchester and Berkeley Counties rank ninth and tenth respectively:

CountyFully Vaccinated Residents Per 10K
Charleston County6,643
Georgetown County6,423
Horry County6,091
Beaufort County5,913
Lexington County5,784
McCormick County5,674
Richland County5,589
Greenville County5,581
Dorchester County5,574
Berkeley County5,465

A Wallet Hub study ranked South Carolina as the seventh least safe state during COVID-19 based on the latest numbers this week. The study based the state’s ranking in 45th place on four COVID-19 individual rankings from data available as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The study ranked South Carolina’s full vaccination rate at 39th in the country and ranked the Palmetto State 17th in positive testing rates.

But it ranked 37th place in the rate of hospitalizations and 47th, the fifth-highest in the nation, in the rate of deaths. Only Georgia, Wyoming, Idaho and West Virginia have higher death rates than South Carolina.

Alabama had the lowest death rate, WalletHub said.

Connecticut ranked as the safest, with Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia rounding out the top five. Of South Carolina’s nearest neighbors, North Carolina ranked 36th safest and Georgia ranked 43rd safest.

As of Wednesday’s update on new cases, South Carolina’s death toll from COVID-19 stood at 13,093, of which 11,336 deaths were listed as confirmed and another 1,757 deaths as probable.

“Our economic recovery will not reach its full potential until the vast majority of people who are medically able to get vaccinated do so. The more people who decline to get vaccinated, the more risk there is to public health, especially as the new delta COVID-19 variant spreads,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “While we have made a lot of progress with vaccination, recent polls have found that most people who are still unvaccinated do not plan to ever get the vaccine. Investing in campaigns to convince more people to get vaccinated may lead to bigger economic returns down the line.”

DHEC Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler warned people Wednesday during the agency’s weekly COVID-19 briefing that a drop in the number of new cases being reported does not signal the end of the pandemic or the risk.

“It’s too early to assume that we’ve permanently turned a corner or that we’re completely over a hump,” Traxler said.

The state listed fewer than 1,000 new cases on Tuesday and fewer than 900 on Wednesday. Wednesday’s total of 893 marked the fifth-consecutive daily drop in new cases.

Traxler said the last time the state saw a new-case total below 1,000 prior to this week was on July 24 when the state reported 967 new cases.

“We have seen this happen a few times before during this pandemic and have seen cases and hospitalizations then jump back up,” Traxler said. “So we shouldn’t look at the last few weeks as a sign that things are going to absolutely continue to improve from here on out.”

Traxler said it was difficult to pinpoint a specific percentage at which the state could be considered to have herd immunity because of unknowns about new variants. But estimates from medical experts have suggested that at least 70% to 80% should be fully vaccinated before herd immunity could be possible.

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