Lowcountry Top Doctors break down safety during newly rising COVID-19 cases

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) -The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Friday announced 1212 new cases of COVID-19 (798 confirmed, 414 probable), 3 new deaths (3 confirmed, 0 probable), and a percent positive of 12.1%.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, News 2 has heard your concern and confusion over whether to mask up once again and whether booster shots are needed.

Medical professionals in the Lowcountry say that masking up can only help add another layer of protection.

Dr. Robert Oliverio, the CMO Ambulatory Care & Population Health at Roper St. Francis says “it’s more dangerous going out today than it was three weeks ago”.

Even if vaccinated, Dr. Oliverio says he wants to remind the Lowcountry there is still a small, but present risk of getting COVID-19. Despite the Delta variant being a stronger and more contagious strain, masks can help protect against it. 

Dr. Oliverio says that right now unvaccinated people ages two and up should be vaccinated.

As for if boosters are needed at this point, those with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) say the research remains ongoing.

Dr. Michael Sweat, the Director for the Division of Global and Community Health, for MUSC says that should there be clear evidence that a booster would be beneficial, he has no doubt that it will be promoted and implemented quickly.

Dr. Sweat also noting that while cases are going up, the Lowcountry is not yet in ‘surge territory’ as the delta variant has yet to hit the Holy City the way it has impacted others around the country.

He says, “right now, this past week in Charleston area, the number of infections per day increased 58% over the week before. And over the past few weeks, it’s increased anywhere from 50 to 200% per week so it’s going up”.

As for who has been most at risk, those coming into the Emergency Departments sick and suffering from COVID-19 are reported to be in the brackets of middle-aged or young adults as they’re less vaccinated than those in older age brackets.

Dr. Oliverio, calling the virus, “a disease of the unvaccinated”. He says now, the likelihood of getting through this time period unvaccinated, not getting the disease is getting close to zero.

For DHEC hosted vaccine clinics for the week of July 26th – August 1st, click here.

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