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COVID-19 cases in South Carolina surge to record highs

January 4, 2022 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The number of COVID-19 cases in South Carolina broke record highs in the first days of 2022, with state health officials recording nearly 35,000 cases over a four-day period.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control counted 10,629 new cases for Saturday and 10,543 new cases for Sunday. The data released Tuesday came days after the state health agency announced a prior record high — nearly 9,000 cases — on New Year’s Eve.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased 287.8%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

State health officials had warned at the end of December that cases would likely soar in January with the rise of the highly contagious omicron variant.

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The state has now tallied more than a million cases since the start of the outbreak in 2020.

Nearly 1,300 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across the state as of Monday, about 67% higher than a week ago. The number of people with COVID-19 on ventilators has also risen more than 52% in one week to 125.

Jails and prisons across the state are also contending with the virus’s rapid spread.

In Sumter County, the jail is under a 10-day quarantine until Jan. 10, with officials citing the rise in cases in the county.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections also canceled visitation last weekend at multiple institutions and individual prison dorms due to COVID-19 quarantines, the corrections agency said on Twitter.

State prisons were reporting 47 active prisoner cases and 84 active staff cases as of last week, according to the Department of Corrections. Of prisoners who have been offered the vaccine, 9,041 have completed their vaccinations and another 6,443 have declined the shots.