The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control will begin reducing its COVID testing efforts and will move to weekly reporting of COVID cases in mid-March.
The announcement, made last week, argued for rapid antigen home testing as the most effective tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help residents make informed decisions about whether or not to isolate them.
In addition, the agency will no longer report daily censuses from March 15, but will continue to report hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus. The agency said these are the most accurate indicators of the severity of the disease and the impact of COVID-19 in South Carolina.
The agency also reported just over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases and 30 new deaths related to the virus on 24 February.
New cases reported: 542 confirmed, 463 probable.
Total number of cases in SC: 1,141,385 confirmed, 316,690 probable.
New deaths reported: 26 confirmed, four probably.
Total deaths in SC: 14,182 confirmed, 2,461 probable.
Percentage of ICU beds filled (with COVID-19 and other patients): 71.09 percent.
Positive percentage: 9.0
SC residents vaccinated
In South Carolina, 62.9 percent of those eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose, and 54 percent of eligible residents are considered to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
This figure reflects all eligible South Carolina residents, including young children. The latest data from DHEC show that 18.3 percent of children aged 5-11 have at least one vaccine dose.
Hardest hit areas
Richland (65), Lexington (45) and Sumter (38) counties experienced the highest total number of new cases.
What about tri-county?
Charleston County had 26 new cases, while Dorchester had 10 and Berkeley reported 20.
DHEC releases county-level data on COVID-19 deaths and the age of those who died of the virus on Tuesday. According to the latest data from February 22, at least 336 people in South Carolina died of the virus 13-19. February.
Of the 845 COVID-19 patients admitted on February 24, 162 were in the intensive care unit and 87 used ventilators.
What do experts say?
State health experts continue to urge all eligible residents to be vaccinated and boosted as COVID-19 cases in the state fluctuate.
Go to https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov to find a clinic near you.
Follow Zharia Jeffries on Twitter @Zharia_Jeffries