SC DHEC Reiterates Safety Guidance, Call for Vaccinations Ahead of Holiday Season

A bandaid being applied on a person's arm.
CDC

As residents prepare for fun with friends and family on Halloween and through the upcoming the holiday season, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) encourages everyone to stay safe and follow recommendations that will best protect against COVID-19.

“It’s no secret that, during this pandemic, major holidays have led to increases in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “We want to avoid that over the next few months, and that starts with keeping each other safe during Halloween through the rest of the holiday season.”

The pandemic has caused us to miss out on many celebrations with family and friends. Disease spread is still at concerning levels across our state; however, you can safely celebrate the holiday season with those you’ve missed by keeping tips in mind from DHEC and the CDC.

DHEC’s updated holiday guidance can be found here. Tips include:

  • Do not attend social gatherings if you have any symptoms or have tested positive in the last 10 days or if you have been exposed and instructed to quarantine in the last 14 days
  • Wear masks, especially indoors, and practice social distancing, hand washing, and limit contact with shared items at gatherings
  • Host/attend events outdoors instead of inside when possible
  • Wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor public spaces such as a packed football stadium
  • Most importantly, get your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible if you have not already done so

The CDC offers additional holiday guidance on its Activities, Gatherings & Holidays page.

After weekly counts of COVID-19 cases spiked to nearly 40,000 the week ending on Sept. 4 — the second highest count South Carolina has seen this year — numbers have been on a steady decline, with the latest data showing 15,621 cases the week of Oct. 2.

“Fortunately, we’ve seen a consistent decline in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. The last thing we want is for that progress to be erased,” Traxler added. “Now is the time to double down on masking and vaccinations so we can continue to see our cases decline. That is how we beat this pandemic, so that we can fully enjoy our holidays and vacations with friends and family without fearing for our health and our lives.”

Visit the DHEC COVID-19 webpage for more information, the locator page to find a nearby place to get vaccinated, or call the Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110.