South Carolina residents across about half of the state should wear masks in public because of spiking COVID-19 cases, federal health officials recommend.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s community levels map as of Sunday shows 23 counties with high levels of COVID-19, up from 21 counties a week earlier. The latest map comes as the state has seen a growing surge in new COVID-19 cases over recent months.
The latest map also shows 19 counties with medium levels of COVID-19 and four counties with low levels.
This is in marked contrast to the fall, when the map showed all 46 counties with low COVID levels.
The CDC recommends communities with high levels of COVID-19 wear masks indoors in public and on public transportation. It also recommends staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, getting tested if you have symptoms and, if you are at high risk for severe illness, to take additional precautions.
For communities at medium levels, the CDC recommends people wear masks if they have symptoms, have had a positive test or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
The latest statistics from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control indicate that there were 11,030 new COVID-19 cases for the week ending Jan. 7, a 4% jump over the previous week. Meanwhile, the latest DHEC death count shows there were 48 COVID-19 related deaths for the week ending Dec. 31, up from three reported deaths the week prior.
Besides masking, staying up to date on vaccinations and boosters, as well as testing when recommended, are important steps in preventing COVID-19 spread, the DHEC states.
Here are the 23 counties with high COVID-19 levels, according to the CDC.
Here are the 19 counties with medium levels of COVID-19.