DHEC officials urge vaccinations as threat from delta variant grows

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Assistant State Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Kelly on Wednesday provided an update on the state of the pandemic and vaccinations in South Carolina. As the delta variant of the virus spreads, health experts are worried by the state’s low vaccination rate, which is 42.9% at the time of publishing.

“South Carolina is one of 12 states considered at highest risk for new outbreaks because of our low vaccination rates,” Dr. Kelly said.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), coronavirus killed 11 South Carolinians in the first two weeks of June. None of the individuals who died had received the vaccine, according to the agency.

Across the same two-week span, the agency reports, the vaccines remained overall 94 percent effective.

For doctors, the rise of the delta variant of COVID-19 is a concerning one: Although DHEC reports only 10 cases in the state so far, roughly half of all new infections in the U.S. is from the delta variant.

“Right now, for example, Missouri is having a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelming some of their hospital systems,” Dr. Kelly said. “Ninety-six percent of those new cases are delta variant. We don’t want that happening here.”

The prevention to an outbreak, doctors say, is to get vaccinated.

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