Experts: COVID-19 case numbers likely to rise with Spring Break and St. Pats events

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 12:06 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Bars and restaurants will now be able to sell alcohol past the 11 p.m. restriction that was previously set during the summer. This announcement coming on the cusp of St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break, with Governor McMaster also moving to lift restrictions on large gatherings in the state.

Now, health experts are warning you not to let your guard down.

For almost a year now, we’ve been hearing the same advice to stay safe.

“Wash your hands, wear the mask, distance from other people,” said Dr. Helmut Albrecht, the Medical Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy for the University of South Carolina and Prisma Health.

But, there are a lot of people who haven’t been listening.

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With St. Patrick’s Day and spring break right around the corner, experts say we are likely going to see a rise in COVID-19 cases around the state.

“I don’t think it’ll be anything close to what we had over the Christmas holidays,” Albrecht said. “But we really don’t want any more surges.”

Dr. Albrecht says there’s no way to tell in advance how your body would react if you were to come in contact with the virus. 194 people are in currently ICU beds because of COVID-19, according to DHEC’s last count.

“We can’t predict who will have serious, and potentially fatal disease,” he said.

With the more easily transmissible UK and South African variants now detected in South Carolina, Dr. Albrecht says it’s important for us to hold strong through the vaccine rollout to prevent more mutations of the virus.

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“We don’t want the virus to change and mutate,” he said. “And each time it passes on to another person, that happens. So, as much as we can hold tight, and do the right thing for a couple more weeks and months, the better we will be off.”

As you plan out the next few weeks, Albrecht says to try and keep your safety, as well as the safety of others, in mind before you decide to drop your guard.

“To risk it now, when we’re so close to getting this truly under control with the vaccine, you may really regret that,” he said.

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