McMaster to give update on state’s response to COVID-19

Gov. Henry McMaster, who held a news conference last week with State Education Superintendent...
Gov. Henry McMaster, who held a news conference last week with State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, doubled down Sunday on his position against moving teachers higher in the state's vaccine rollout.(WIS)
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 1:20 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster will meet with reporters Monday to give an update on the Palmetto State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. with public health officials at the state’s Emergency Management Division.

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Since the pandemic began, the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control has reported a total of 492,308 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,594 deaths attributed to the disease.

South Carolina has performed nearly 8 million COVID-19 tests since mid-March 2020.

McMaster declared a state of emergency in mid-March 2020 to help handle the state’s response to the pandemic.

Almost one year later, on March 5 of this year, he lifted a mandatory face covering order for restaurants and state government offices after the majority of South Carolinians became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nationally, 63.5% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But that figure drops to 41.5% when you narrow the data to adults in South Carolina only.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 34.8% of adults in South Carolina are considered fully vaccinated. One is said to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Last month, one of the state’s top Democratic lawmakers called for a program similar to one in Ohio that would offer prizes to people who get vaccinated against COVID-19. Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, suggested using some of the state’s COVID-19 relief money to offer $1 million prizes to those who are vaccinated.

But McMaster said such an incentive program is unnecessary.

“South Carolinians have been given all available information about the vaccine and that is all they need in order to make this decision,” McMaster’s spokesman, Brian Symmes said.

Symmes said the governor believes enticing people to take the vaccine “with the lure of a lottery jackpot is irresponsible and a poor use of taxpayer dollars.”

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