South Carolina COVID cases, hospitalizations creeping back up, top doctor says expect more cases
Officials say, however, there is nothing to worry about.
YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) -South Carolina’s top doctor says COVID’s not going anywhere.
In fact, numbers in the Palmetto state are ticking up. The state’s health agency’s Public Health Director Dr. Brannon Traxler says the numbers probably are not painting the full picture because of home tests. She also says people should expect a rise in cases for the short term because of COVID’s newest subvariant.
However, Traxler says there is nothing to worry about.
Reinfection is the main concern for the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron. BA.5 can avoid vaccines but also immunities from past infections. Studies show people who have had COVID-19 twice are at a higher risk for complications and hospitalization.
As Omicron’s subvariant, BA.5 spreads through South Carolina, people are looking for ways to avoid getting it.
”I’m not interested in going through that. Aging is difficult enough,” said one woman.
Some South Carolinians are once again picking up the masks to avoid infection.
”Better to be safe than sorry. There’s no harm in wearing the mask,” said another.
That is the same message the Palmetto state’s top doctor Dr. Brannon Traxler is echoing, especially after hearing stories of reinfection.
”We are hearing of people who had the original BA.1 Omicron, the original Omicron for example and who now are getting infected with the BA.4 and especially the BA.5,” said Dr. Traxler.
Dr. Traxler says 50 percent of all the randomly tested samples at DHEC’s labs are BA.4 or BA.5. Most recent cases are people around 18 to 34 years old. The 35 to 49 age range is a close second. Traxler says several counties are already creeping into the high transmission range, including Chester County in our viewing area.
So WBTV asked Dr. Traxler the question many of you have been asking us—how nervous should I feel about BA.5?
”I would not say we are anxious about it because this is not the first time, the first go-round with COVID-19. The people of South Carolina know what they need to do when cases get high,” she says.
Traxler says what South Carolinians know and should be doing are masking around other inside, especially in the 1/3 of counties with high infection rates, and getting vaccines and boosters, if people have not already.
”We are really encouraging folks if they’ve been on the fence about vaccinations this is the time to do it,” she said.
Traxler says there is another booster coming in the fall that should target the BA.5 subvariant. She also says there are no other new variants that have popped up around the world that is causing concern at this time.
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