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South Carolinians Urged to ‘Safely Ring in the New Year’ as State Braces for More Record Numbers of New COVID-19 Cases  

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DHEC: “Being careful now can help make 2022 a better year for all of us!”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 31, 2021

Columbia, S.C. – As residents across the state prepare to celebrate the new year, public health officials are urging South Carolinians to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19. This comes as the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announces the highest single day of reported COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Today, 8,882 additional cases (6,319 confirmed and 2,563 probable) of COVID-19 were reported by DHEC health officials. This surpasses the previous record of 7,686 cases reported on Jan. 6, 2021. Officials warn that if South Carolinians don’t take actions now to prevent further spread, residents should expect more record days of reporting ahead. Being careful now can help make 2022 a better year for all of us!

“As South Carolina braces for yet another new record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases, we are urging all South Carolinians to take steps to safely ring in the New Year as we enter the third year affected by this pandemic,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “While we prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve, we recognize that the virus is still very much present in communities and households across the state, and it is incumbent upon all of us to take actions to protect ourselves and those around us. This includes avoiding crowds and large gatherings and staying at home, if possible.”

If you do plan to attend a New Year’s Eve party, DHEC health officials recommend everyone wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

“If we don’t take actions now, New Year’s Eve celebrations could prove to be devastating, particularly for those who have not been maximally vaccinated,” Traxler said. “In the era of the Omicron variant, we are seeing the virus spread so rapidly that case counts are skyrocketing and hospital admissions due to the disease are increasing. This is all the more reason why it is so important to get maximally vaccinated against COVID-19.”
 
Other options for safely celebrating the holidays, include:
•    meeting for virtual toasts and meals,
•    playing music over a video message, 
•    planning a neighborhood countdown where everyone stands at their front door or porch, and  
•    recording your family’s countdown and sharing it on social media.

South Carolinians Encouraged to Plan Ahead to Help Reduce Wait Times at Testing Locations  
Due to increases in the number of people being tested for COVID-19, South Carolinians should prepare for longer wait times (1-2 hours) at testing locations. DHEC encourages those wishing to get tested to plan ahead. DHEC and its testing contractors have been working to increase testing capacity at sites, in order to increase throughput, as well as to ensure turn-around times in labs remain at 24 to 48 hours. 
 
Not sure if you should be tested? Check here. 

To find a vaccination site near you, click here.  

For the latest information about COVID-19, visit scdhec.gov/covid19.

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Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are proving quite safe and highly effective in the prevention of COVID-19, especially severe and/or fatal disease.

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