We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back for updates.
More than new COVID-19 cases reported in SC
At least 714,586 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and 11,651 have died in South Carolina since March 2020, according to state health officials.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Friday reported 738 new COVID-19 cases and 48 coronavirus-related deaths. There were also 321 probable cases and 14 probable deaths, data shows.
At least 864 people in the state were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 253 patients who were being treated in intensive care units and 170 who were on ventilators. Roughly 9% of hospitalizations across the state are COVID-19-related, data shows.
As of Friday, 4.5% of COVID-19 tests were reported positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said 5% or lower means there is a low level of community spread.
Roughly 54% of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated, and 62% have received at least one dose, according to health officials.
SC General Electric employees stage walkout over vaccine mandate
Nearly 100 people gathered outside the General Electric factory in Greenville on Thursday to protest the company’s compliance with a federal vaccine mandate, The State reported.
The walkout comes more than a month after President Joe Biden announced new rules requiring all federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The order also said corporations with more than 100 employees must also require workers to be vaccinated.
“As a federal contractor, GE is complying with the executive order which requires employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” a GE spokesperson told The State. “All GE U.S. employees will be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious accommodation by December 8th as required in the order.”
It’s unclear how many employees took part in the walkout and if they will face disciplinary action.
Read the full story here.
SC judge halts efforts to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Charleston
A U.S. district judge has shot down efforts by several Charleston-area first responders — including police officers, paramedics and firefighters — to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates from taking effect next month, The State reported.
The judge denied their requests for a temporary restraining order Thursday, citing failure to “present a viable legal theory” for their efforts to stop the impending vaccine mandates in Charleston, North Charleston, Charleston County and the St. John’s Fire District.
“Their right to express themselves by refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is outweighed by the government’s interest in protecting their employees and communities from a deadly infectious disease,” the judge’s ruling reads.
The first responders filed four separate lawsuits against the aforementioned entities, arguing that requiring the COVID-19 shot violated the state Constitution, employees’ personal freedoms and bodily autonomy, according to The State.
The respective mandates in Charleston, North Charleston, Charleston County and the St. John Fire District are set to go forward as planned.
FDA authorizes mix and match COVID-19 boosters. What to know
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations, McClatchy News reported.
Those eligible for a Moderna booster — which is half the dosage of the first two shots — include persons 65 and older and those between 18 and 64 who are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus. In contrast, the J&J booster is available to anyone older than 18.
The Moderna booster is recommended at least six months after their first two doses, while the J&J booster can be administered two months after the single dose.
The FDA also approved “mixing and matching” booster shots, meaning patients can get the vaccine from a different developer from the one they received for their initial doses.
Read the full story here.
COVID-19 vaccines for young kids could be approved soon. How will shots be distributed?
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weighs whether to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, the White House is planning how the shots will be disbursed.
The White House on Wednesday released vaccine distribution plans for the new age range, saying it has secured enough doses to inoculate the nation’s 28 million children, The State reported, citing a news release. The vaccine will be about one-third of the dose given to people 12 and older, who are already eligible to be vaccinated.
The shots will be packaged in smaller configurations, officials said, and be made available to thousands of primary care doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and community-based health centers across the U.S.