First coronavirus vaccine shipments may be in South Carolina in mid-December

South Carolina public health leaders are calling for continued use of masks before and after the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrive in the state, as cases and deaths continue to increase.

As has been the projection across the country, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control is saying that the large-scale dissemination of the vaccine will not be available to the general public in the state of Palmetto until next spring, with workers from the front and the most vulnerable, including residents of nursing homes, being first in line.

DHEC officials said during a media call on Thursday afternoon that they are waiting for the first shipments to arrive in South Carolina in the coming weeks, but did not say how many doses they will initially receive until they receive them.

Stephen White, the state’s director of immunization, said the state is likely to receive doses from Pfizer and Moderna, assuming they are authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Initial remittances will not be sufficient for all health workers and nursing home residents, so leaders at the local level will have to decide, for example, which nurses will be vaccinated, according to Jane Kelly, the state’s assistant epidemiologist.

Kelly said the next round of Southern Carolinians to get vaccines when available could be people with existing health problems, which makes them more likely to get sick or die if they take COVID-19. The second stage can also include older people and people living in community settings, such as group houses and prisons.

In the meantime, officials said, it is still important to wear a mask near other people and practice physical detachment this winter.

The continuous warnings come as the cases are coming up again almost at the height of the summer.

DHEC announced 1,754 new confirmed cases on Thursday, including 47 cases in Sumter.

With a seven-day moving average of 1,634, the state is approaching its peak in July, when the highest single-day case count was recorded at 2,322 confirmed cases.

Thursday’s daily update also included 21 more deaths across the state, including a middle-aged Sumter victim who died on November 28. DHEC defines middle age between 35 and 64 years.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the Associated Press and other media, more than 3,100 American deaths were recorded on Thursday, most of them in a single day. The number of Americans hospitalized with the virus has also broken records, surpassing 100,000 for the first time, as new cases reach 200,000 a day.

Since the start of the pandemic, 208,435 Southern Carolinians have tested positive for the virus and 4,145 have died.

The state’s 90.0% recovery rate represents 132,161 people for whom DHEC has symptom data for the 223,063 confirmed cases on December 1. Of which they have data, 3,076 died. Of the remaining 129,085, 90.9% recovered and 9.1% are still ill.

Lee County recorded 832 of these confirmed cases and 37 deaths, and Clarendon County had 1,353 positive cases and 68 deaths.

Sumter County now has 4,189 confirmed cases. The virus claimed 97 Sumterites.

Sumter had two high daily counts of consecutive cases and, although it fluctuates, the seven-day average is slowly increasing overall.

Linda Bell, a state epidemiologist, said on Thursday that “we have to do some immediate things” to prevent cases from escalating further.

“Masks work,” she said, citing DHEC studies that compare case counts in areas of the state that require masks and those that do not.

Even after people start receiving the vaccine, it will be important to continue using the mask until enough people are vaccinated, because the tests tested only if the vaccine prevents you from getting sick, not if it prevents you from passing on the vaccine. viruses to other people.