COVID Cases Hit Record High In South Carolina As Gov. McMaster Touts States Economic Recovery

CHARLOTTE, NC –  South Carolina health officials issued a stark warning as the state set a record number of daily reported COVID cases. Thirty four percent of tests are positive. Hospitals are at 86% capacity. 

“We must all act now or continue to face high numbers of cases we’ve not seen before that are overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare systems as well as taking the lives of the ones we love,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, the state health director. 

The vaccine roll out has also been slow. South Carolina ranks near the bottom in state distribution rate. Health officials say they only receive about 60,000 doses a week for an eligible population of 600,000. 

“We are seeing extremely high numbers of calls. We’re doing everything we can to get to everyone as fast as we can,” said Traxler.

Governor Henry McMaster remained positive. He touted the states success in handling the pandemic during his state of the state address. 

“We have not succumbed to the controversies and spectacles of other states because we know better,” said McMaster during his State of the State address. 

McMaster, who has kept business mostly open, pointed to the state’s economic recovery. 

“In april our unemployment rate was 12.4%, but today, it’s 4.4%. The lowest in the southeast and the 7th lowest unemployment rate in the nation,” said McMaster.

When it comes to schools, McMaster asked legislatures to give him the power to force them all to open.

“They must have the option of having their children in school five days a week if they so choose. That is why they pay taxes,” said McMaster.

His push on elected leaders comes as Lancaster County Schools moves to full remote learning. There are COVID outbreaks among students and staff in 21 of the district’s 24 schools. 

“For the districts that are doing what they believe is best for their teachers and students, it’s not fair to force them to go back,” said Saani Perry. 

He is a Rock Hill teacher and board member of SCforEd. Perry says this year has been stressful for teachers and that he’s frustrated with the governor’s approach. 

“There is just a lack of leadership in terms of education right now and that’s a huge problem,” said Perry.