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State moves to expand vaccine program, reports artificially low COVID totals
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State moves to expand vaccine program, reports artificially low COVID totals

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Starting Wednesday people who are 70 and older can schedule appointments to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as state and federal health officials move to expand vaccination programs.

The expansion comes as medical centers continue to vaccinate staff and long-term-care facilities continue to vaccinate residents.

On Tuesday in the Pee Dee, MUSC Health-Florence Medical Center was booking vaccine appointments online at muschealth.org/vaccine-1a.

"Currently McLeod Health is administering vaccines to those expecting second doses and McLeod health care workers. We anticipate more allocation in the days ahead and will be communicating that through our website, the press and social media pages," McLeod spokesperson Tracy Stanton said.

Stanton said that DHEC had indicated the agency expected to have an additional 50 vaccine locations as well as a mobile clinic and some DHEC sites available across the state by next week.

The move to expand vaccination efforts comes as the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control grapples with "internal systems errors" for the second day that leave it unable to produce an accurate count of the state's COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, DHEC reported 1,361 new confirmed COVID cases, 22 probable cases, 29 confirmed deaths and five probable deaths as of Sunday.

Of the numbers reported, the Pee Dee accounted for 169 cases, with Florence atop the pile with 36 cases. Darlington County reported 29 cases, Dillon County 26, Williamsburg County 23, Marion County 16, Chesterfield County five and Marlboro County one.

Of the state's deaths reported, Florence County had six confirmed and one probable while Marion County had four confirmed, Darlington County had two confirmed and Williamsburg County had one probable.

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Sunday's numbers bring the state's cumulative totals to 328,028 total confirmed cases and 31,329 probable cases, 5,358 confirmed deaths, 502 probable deaths and 4,760,340 tests administered.

DHEC officials have indicated that once the systems issue is rectified, the real totals will be updated.

A number not impacted by the systems problem was the number of tests administered in the time period − 4,496, with 30.3% of those tested being positive for the virus.

South Carolina hospitals reported, as of Tuesday, a 80.88% utilization rate for inpatient beds, a 79.65% utilization rate for ICU beds and a 34.64% utilization rate for ventilators.

The hospitals also reported 9,083 occupied inpatient beds, 1,382 occupied ICU beds, 679 ventilators in use, 2,453 hospitalized COVID patients, 485 of them in ICU and 270 of those ventilated.

Florence County reported 74 hospital beds currently available, 211 hospitalized COVID patients, 42 of those in an ICU bed, 20 ICU beds currently available and 28 COVID patients on ventilators.

Darlington County reported 41 hospital beds currently available, 21 hospitalized COVID patients, six of them in an ICU bed, two ICU beds currently available and five COVID patients on ventilators.

Chesterfield County reported six hospital beds currently available, 16 hospitalized COVID patients, one COVID patient in an ICU bed and one ICU bed available.

Dillon County reported no hospital beds currently available, 11 hospitalized COVID patients, one of them in an ICU bed, no ICU beds available and one COVID patient on a ventilator.

Marion County reported no hospital beds available, 17 hospitalized COVID patients, three COVID patients in an ICU bed and three ICU beds available and one COVID patient on a ventilator.

Williamsburg County reported eight hospital beds available, eight hospitalized COVID patients, no ICU beds available, four COVID patients in ICU beds and no ICU beds available.

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