COLUMBIA, S.C. – Beginning March 15, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will transition to reporting COVID-19 data once a week on Tuesdays. Data will include COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccinations, among other data points. Data that is currently reported weekly, such as MIS-C cases and COVID-19 variants, will be reported on Tuesdays as well. This weekend’s data will be reported Tuesday, March 15.
“Tracking daily case numbers is less useful, especially with the rise of non-reportable at-home tests,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC’s Public Health Director. “It’s much more useful to track severe cases, meaning those that unfortunately result in hospitalizations and deaths. That gives us a clearer picture of how the virus is impacting local communities.”
DHEC will continue to gradually close its COVID-19 testing vendor sites in several more counties across the state from March 14-April 1, but will continue providing free rapid at-home antigen tests at its public health departments statewide and will update its testing locator in real time to show which locations have them in stock. Additionally, the federal government has expanded its at-home test program to offer every home in the U.S. two sets of four free at-home tests. If you already ordered your first set, order a second today.
In addition, DHEC is revamping COVID-19 content on its website and is editing or removing pages based on demand and accuracy of reporting. Beginning Tuesday, DHEC’s page on breakthrough cases, and its page showing cases among those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, will no longer be available. Both page removals are due to the rise of home testing, which has resulted in skewed case counts, as well as the heightened focus on severe cases.
The reduction signifies a continued decline in demand for in-person testing, a rise in demand for reliable at-home rapid antigen tests and the state and nation’s endemic approach to COVID-19, which provides guidance on how to live normal, safe lives with an ongoing presence of the virus.
As of April 1, DHEC-operated PCR sites will only be located in counties where DHEC is the only PCR-test provider or only other such provider. In those areas, DHEC also will provide mobile rapid antigen testing services.
From March 14-April 1, 30 vendor sites in the following 13 counties will close: Bamberg (3),
Barnwell (3), Chesterfield (2), Clarendon (2), Dillon (2), Greenwood (3), Laurens (2), Marion (2), Marlboro (2), Newberry (2), Oconee (2), Sumter (3), and Williamsburg (2).
Residents are encouraged to join in this endemic approach to COVID-19 by:
- Using DHEC’s endemic page to find and use the latest guidance
- Using CDC’s county map to track virus levels in their area, and following the masking guidelines based on the county’s current community level
- Getting all recommended COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters
Find a vaccination site near you on our vaccine locator or by calling our Care Line at 1-855-472-3432.