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COVID-19 cases climb in SC as New Year’s Eve holiday approaches

Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 11:57 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As many look forward to putting 2020 behind us, health officials warn that COVID-19 will not be a thing of the past in the new year.

“We’re at a situation that is worse right now than we were back in July when we hit our peak,” said Prisma Health CEO Mike O’Halla.

Following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, cases continue to surge, as DHEC reports more than 2,000 South Carolinians are in the hospital battling COVID-19.

“We monitor the number of ventilators we have available, we monitor the number of intensive care unit beds. We are looking at the fact that a good proportion of those beds are occupied by people with COVID,” said Dr. Linda Bell with DHEC.

On Wednesday, Columbia city officials teamed up with health experts to urge the midlands community to ring in 2021 from the safety of their homes.

“Enjoy New Year’s Eve at home...enjoy it from the safety at home with your family,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

This directive comes as events like Columbia’s marquee celebration “Famously Hot New Year” are going virtual this year to slow the spread of the virus, making for what could be a slow night for Columbia businesses already hit hard by 2020.

“All in all it will be a little bit of a slower night,” said Maegan Horton, the executive chef at Blue Marlin, “but I do think people are gonna come out and have that date night before they celebrate the new year bringing in hopefully a better year than this past year.”

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