SC DHEC stresses COVID safety for Thanksgiving and holiday season to avoid case spike

·1 min read
Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com

South Carolina’s health agency in charge of the state’s response to COVID-19 is worried that Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season will lead to a continued uptick in infections.

Last week, South Carolina saw an increase in the number of COVID cases for the first time in 10 weeks, said Dr. Brannon Traxler, the public health director at the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“I don’t want to hit the panic button, but we are strongly encouraging all South Carolinians to continue the safety protocols that helped us drive these numbers down from that high point back in early September,” Traxler said during a media briefing on Wednesday. “It helped us get those 10 consecutive weeks of a decrease.”

Traxler encouraged people to wear masks, practice social distancing, gather outside when in groups and get vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid spikes in cases.

“We fought so hard together as a state to bring our cases down and we’ve been successful,” Traxler said. “The absolute worst thing that could happen is suffering another significant surge that will bring more hospitalizations and deaths after we did such good work bringing cases down for those 10 weeks.”

Traxler said it is difficult to project when to expect possible spikes in cases after Thanksgiving, especially as vaccines are now available, but the Delta variant is more transmissible.

“Though it is still difficult to determine how soon and how significant, we do know it takes roughly a week plus or minus a couple of days to start to see the effect in a case curve from an event,” Traxler said.

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