DHEC says vaccines working as COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations trend downward

The agency encourages everyone to get vaccinated as new variants spread across the US.
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As new cases of COVID-19 continue to trend downward in South Carolina, health officials say it’s important for more people to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of any virus variants -- especially the Delta variant, which is more dangerous.

The downward trend in cases, deaths and hospitalizations is evidence the vaccine works, health officials said.

Wednesday, the Department for Health and Environmental Control reported 68 new confirmed cases and 59 new probable cases of the virus. Those numbers are accurate as of June 21.

The difference between confirmed and probable cases is based on the type of test a person receives. Probable cases are treated as confirmed cases by doctors, DHEC says.

To see confirmed and probable cases by county, click or tap here.

DHEC reported one confirmed death Wednesday of an elderly person (aged 65 or older) from Williamsburg County. That person died June 18.

While DHEC is reassured by the downward trend in cases and deaths, officials said the Delta variant has been classified as a “Variant of Concern” by the CDC.

The Delta variant “carries a higher rate of transmission and a greater chance of severe disease than other COVID-19 variants,” DHEC officials said Wednesday.

For now, four cases of the variant have been reported across the state -- but DHEC said testing for the variant has not been widespread yet, meaning “there are likely other undetected cases of the variant.” To see where variants have been identified, check out the “Tracking MIS-C and Virus Variants” section further down in this article.

Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler said the Delta variant can be dangerous for younger people.

“Only 17,000 South Carolinians age 20-24 have received at least one shot, which is by far the lowest vaccination number for any eligible age group in the state. We need to change that,” Traxler said. “The Delta variant especially can be dangerous even for this age group. In addition, unvaccinated young adults could carry the variant and pass it to their parents, grandparents, and other vulnerable people in our communities.”

The best way to protect against the Delta variant, and any other COVID-19 variant, is vaccination, Traxler said.

“We understand COVID-19 vaccination comes with questions and concerns,” the doctor said. “We strongly urge all eligible folks to become educated with science-based, accurate facts and to make the decision to get these life-saving doses.”


Everyone over the age of 12 in South Carolina is currently eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Get more details and make an appointment by clicking or tapping here.

As of June 21, DHEC reported that of vaccine-eligible South Carolina residents:

  • 47.7% have received at least one vaccine -- 2,048,102 people
  • 41.1% are fully vaccinated -- 1,763,668 people

Percent positive refers to the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 in relation to the number of tests being performed.

DHEC says the percent positive from the 5,196 molecular tests most recently reported to them was 2.3% (not including antibody tests).


DHEC encourages everyone who is out and about in the community to get tested routinely, at least each month.

Find testing locations by clicking or tapping here.


As of Wednesday, DHEC says 74.06% of inpatient beds in South Carolina are in use while 64.86% of ICU beds are in use.

There are 147 hospitalized patients who have COVID-19 or are suspected of having it and awaiting a test, DHEC said. Of those patients, 38 are in the ICU.

DHEC is reporting 1,942 ventilators available in the state with 385 of them in use. COVID-19 patients account for 21 of those.

Click here for more information on hospital bed occupancy by county.

For information on nursing homes and long-term care facilities impacted by the virus, click or tap here.


DHEC has a dashboard that shows the number of cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 in South Carolina.

It also shows how many cases of different variants have been found in the state, by type.

To date, there have been four reported cases of the delta variant of COVID-19 in South Carolina.


Below is DHEC’s Key Indicators dashboard. It’s meant to give an “at-a-glance view” of important data points used to measure the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

It shows trends in cases, testing, deaths, hospitalizations, and more.

DHEC says all of these factors need to be considered when evaluating the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina.

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