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State moves to expand number of vaccinators
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State moves to expand number of vaccinators

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The COVID-19 virus

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina leaders continue to mobilize the troops, so to speak, in the fight against coronavirus, which is responsible for the deaths of 5,420 residents as of Tuesday.

On Thursday, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) issued a joint order expanding the number of medical professionals who may administer COVID-19 vaccine.

While the amount of COVID-19 vaccine is currently limited in South Carolina, as it is in all states, the purpose of the order is to ensure South Carolina has enough trained medical professionals for administering shots when vaccine supply into South Carolina becomes more widely available.

“While South Carolina is currently in Phase 1a of its vaccine plan which is targeted at protecting front-line medical workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, and those who are 70 older, this joint order proactively puts us in a position to have an increased number of people who can administer vaccine when the vaccine is more widely available to everyone,” said Marshall Taylor, DHEC Acting Director.

The joint order expanding the qualified persons who are now authorized to administer pre-measured doses of COVID-19 vaccine includes:

  • Personnel with current certifications by certain certifying boards.
  • Students of an accredited medical school with appropriate instruction and documented training.
  • Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who have retired, become inactive, or whose licenses have lapsed within the last five years but were in good standing.

“This Order goes a long way in helping hospitals and other providers prepare for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. LLR, along with the Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Nursing and other health professional licensing boards, are committed to doing everything we can to help South Carolinians gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and safely as possible. We continue to stand ready to assist DHEC in its endeavor to do so,” LLR Director Emily Farr said.

These newly qualified persons will need to enroll in the federal program all providers must successfully complete in order to administer COVID-19 vaccine. There are currently 924 vaccine provider sites enrolled in the federal program for administering COVID-19 vaccine and 286 of those provider sites are currently activated and able to administer the vaccine. The number of activated sites will increase as vaccine becomes more widely available.

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The move to increase the number of health care workers qualified to administer vaccinations happened on a day the DHEC reported an additional 4,809 confirmed COVID cases, 136 probable cases, 18 deaths and five probable deaths.

The numbers, as of Tuesday, are hindered by an internal system issue that affects the accuracy of the numbers. DHEC has indicated that once resolved by the vendor it will go back and add additional cases to the county level data.

The Pee Dee reported 403 cases. Florence County accounted for nearly half of that number, 196 confirmed cases. Williamsburg County reported 49, Dillon County 41, Marion County reported 39, Darlington County 38, Chesterfield County reported 25 cases and Marlboro County reported 19 cases.

Florence County reported one confirmed death.

Tuesday's numbers bring the state's cumulative totals to 337,845 confirmed COVID cases, 33,335 probable cases, 5,420 confirmed deaths, 514 probable deaths and 4,168,325 COVID-19 tests.

For the reporting period, the state reported it tested 18,115 tests and that 26.5% of those tests came back positive.

South Carolina hospitals reported that, as of Thursday, an 84.18% utilization rate on inpatient beds, an 82.1% utilization rate on ICU beds and a 38.19% utilization rate on ventilators.

State hospitals reported 9,535 occupied inpatient beds, 1,440 occupied ICU beds, 744 ventilators in use, 2,427 COVID patients hospitalized, 465 of them in an ICU bed and 290 of them on ventilators.

  • Florence County reported 28 hospital beds available, 210 hospitalized COVID patients, 15 ICU beds available, 47 COVID patients in an ICU bed, 70 ventilators available and 37 COVID patients on ventilators.
  • Darlington County reported 27 hospital beds available, 31 hospitalized COVID patients, two ICU beds available, seven COVID patients in an ICU bed, six ventilators available and three COVID patients on ventilators.
  • Chesterfield County reported a dozen hospital beds available, a dozen hospitalized COVID patients, no ICU beds available, one COVID patient in an ICU bed and one ventilator available.
  • Dillon County reported four hospital beds available, 13 hospitalized COVID patients, one ICU bed available, one COVID patient in an ICU bed, four ventilators available and one COVID patient on a ventilator.
  • Marion County reported four hospital beds available, 25 COVID patients hospitalized, three ICU beds available, four COVID patients in an ICU bed, 10 ventilators available and three COVID patients on a ventilator.
  • Williamsburg County reported nine hospital beds available, seven COVID patients hospitalized, one ICU bed available, three COVID patients in an ICU bed, two ventilators available and one COVID patient on a ventilator.

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