COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina’s health leaders are again urging the use of masks and staying up to date on vaccinations as community levels of COVD-19 spike.

Most counties in the Lowcountry are listed among the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s “yellow counties” for medical levels of COVID-19 infections, including Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, and Williamsburg counties.

Those living and working in these areas who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and those who are regularly around immunocompromised individuals, are encouraged to mask up, while it is optional for others.

“We know the summer season brings more vacationing and public events, which creates more opportunities for virus spread,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “We’re asking everyone to use good judgment and take the necessary precautions to stay well themselves and to protect their family and friends.”

Dr. Simmer said part of treating COVID-19 as an endemic virus is recognizing that we need to know the current community level and the steps to take to stay virus-free.

“We are seeing more medium and high transmission across South Carolina, so we strongly encourage our residents to follow all recommendations, including masking, staying home when sick, and being vaccinated, including boosters when eligible, that will help bring these numbers back down,” said Dr. Simmer.

South Carolinians can visit an interactive map or use the county check tool on DHEC’s community levels page to view levels in their area.