By Ray Rivera|December 10, 2020 at 2:46 PM EST - Updated December 10 at 8:03 PM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with the Medical University of South Carolina are reporting a “dramatic growth” in COVID-19 cases in the Tri-County following Thanksgiving.
Dr. Michael Sweat with MUSC said on Thursday there was a 65% increase in just a week in the number of cases in the Tri-County area. Sweat attributes the increase to a combination of the Thanksgiving holiday and the weather, which is getting cooler in the Charleston area.
“I think people went into Thanksgiving hearing all the warnings, but many still got together,” he said. “I think we’re paying the price for that now. A lot of people traveled, which transmits infections.”
According to MUSC health officials, a double surge is possible as the holidays continue.
“If this plays out like we think it will, the numbers will keep going up for a period of time,” Sweat said. “The Christmas season through the New Year goes on for a relatively long period of time. It enhances the number of gatherings and the amount of time people are spending together.”
MUSC doctors also reported tracking a high number of outbreaks in nursing homes which they say is a “frightening phenomenon” being seen across the country.
According to MUSC officials, there is some encouraging news as COVID-19 tests are widely available and Tri-County hospitals are in good shape in terms of their ability to treat patients. Sweat said people can take steps to lower the odds of a double COVID-19 surge this winter.
“We have the ability to affect this. People can wear masks, use social distancing, avoid being around people outside their household and just hang on a little longer,” he said. “Vaccines are on the way. But people have to stick with it.”
On Wednesday, Dr. Linda Bell with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control pleaded with South Carolinians to take up those protective measures since she said thousands of more people could die from COVID-19 by early next year if people don’t change their behavior on the virus.
“From the end of November until the beginning of April an additional 3,000 more South Carolinians may die if we don’t do something differently,” Dr. Linda Bell with DHEC said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
She said if mask compliance was 95% in a week, 1,000 of those expected 3,000 lives could be saved.
Health officials on Thursday reported a total of 1,883 newly-confirmed cases of COVID-19.Thursday’s DHEC report also showed 63 probable new cases, 12 confirmed deaths and three probable death in the state.
📸 Dr. Michael Sweat with MUSC said on Thursday there was a 65% increase in just a week in the number of cases in the Tri-County area. Sweat attributes the increase to a combination of the Thanksgiving holiday and the weather, which is getting cooler in the Charleston area. (Source: MUSC)
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