We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back each week for updates.

About 1,800 COVID cases added in SC last week

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Tuesday, March 14, reported 1,874 COVID-19 cases for the week ending March 11 and 18 coronavirus-related deaths for the week ending March 4.

The counts include probable and confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

An estimated 1.8 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the Palmetto State, and more than 19,600 people have died as a result of the virus since March 2020, according to state health officials. Data shows COVID-19 cases fell nearly 33% compared with this time last week.

As of March 12, 156 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in South Carolina (with 59 hospitals reporting), including 21 patients being treated in intensive care units, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Going forward, SC DHEC said it will use “the CDC data for South Carolina to show our state’s Inpatient Bed Usage and Intensive Care Unit Bed Usage statistics.”

Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 made up nearly 80% of all COVID-19 strains identified in South Carolina for the week ending Feb. 25, data shows. The DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory conducts sequencing on randomly chosen samples as part of nationwide efforts to find out about new strains of the virus, the agency’s website reads.

The state’s latest vaccination numbers show 54% of eligible South Carolina residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and just over 62% have received at least one dose.

COVID or allergies? How to spot the difference

Spring is just around the corner and allergy sufferers will soon be reaching for the antihistamines.

The sniffles, sneezing and a sore throat are common allergy symptoms, but their similarities with COVID-19 can make it make hard to determine which condition could be causing your symptoms.

For example, itchy, watery eyes are a tell-tale sign of seasonal allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those infected with COVID-19 may experience more severe symptoms such as fever, body aches, nausea and vomiting.

“You just don’t get fevers from allergies like you do with the flu, COVID-19, or the common cold,” Dr. Aaron Kobernick, an assistant professor and allergist, said in a University of Utah Health blog post dated March 2.

Other symptoms of the two conditions could overlap, however. They include:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Sore or scratchy throat

  • Runny nose or congestion

  • Cough

Read the full story here.

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