MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project

Epidemiology Intelligence Project map

COVID-19 Status Summary for the Charleston metropolitan area (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties)

View information for the Florence area (Florence, Marion, Darlington, and Williamsburg Counties)

View information for the Lancaster metropolitan area (Lancaster and Chester Counties)

View information for the Midlands area (Kershaw, Fairfield, and Richland Counties)

Updated 12/7/2021 | About This Project    

Click here for a description of Methods and Metrics:

 

 

  

COVID-19 Variants Based on Genetic Sequencing Conducted by the MUSC Molecular Pathology Laboratory. All Positive COVID-19 Tests are sequenced, and the Red and Yellow are Variants of Concern.


View larger image

Click here for the latest information on Covid-19 Variants of Interest:

MUSC COVID-19 Situation Assessment:  

Click here for a description of Methods and Metrics:

Metric Status as of December 1st
Weekly Change of Reported COVID-19 Infections
RED: +116% *Note: This number is likely inflated, due to delays in case number reporting from DHEC.
Trajectory of documented cases (Increasing or Decreasing)
GREEN
 Number of Reported
COVID-19 cases in last week
RED: 440 new cases reported last 7 days
(Nov. 23rd-Nov. 29th)
Diagnostic Testing Availability
GREEN
Return of Diagnostic Test Results
GREEN
Hospital Capacity to treat Critical Patients
GREEN
Super spreader events and congregant facility outbreaks
GREEN

Key Findings:

Key Findings are based on results from Wednesday, November 24th - Tuesday, November 30th, 2021.

Virtually all cases in the area are now from the Delta variant (originally identified in India). The Delta variant is between 50% - 60% more transmissible than the last version of the virus. Prior variants typically required 15-minutes of contact to transmit. With the Delta variant transmission has been documented to occur in as short as 10-seconds of contact. Those with Delta variant infections have been shown to harbor 1000-times the level of virus as with prior variants. People who are not vaccinated currently have an extremely high risk of catching and transmitting the Delta variant to others. Vaccination is the most potent and durable way to protect yourself from COVID-19, including the Delta variant.            

There are an estimated 1,031 active infections that have been diagnosed by lab testing. These people can infect other people. Be aware that for every diagnosed case there are approximately 4 undiagnosed people who can also transmit the COVID-19 virus. It is therefore important to realize that you can get infected by people who are unaware they are infected, and these make up the vast majority of people infected.      

Most undiagnosed people who are infected will not be aware they carry the virus and can infect others. The time between becoming infected and having symptoms averages 5-days, and this is a period when a person is typically highly infectious. The risk of infection from people with no symptoms, or mild symptoms, is the greatest single threat to members of the community. Do not assume that a lack of symptoms in people you encounter means that they cannot transmit the COVID-19 virus to you.

Across large areas of the United States there is a significant surge in COVID-19 cases occurring, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. In these areas with extremely high infection rates the Delta variant is predominant. This variant is much more transmissible than prior variants. Vaccination is highly effective against the Delta variant.

The community is advised to develop an evidence-based risk mitigation plan that is specific to personal risk. Those vaccinated or who have recovered from a recent infection have low risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19. Be aware that many people mistakenly believe that they have been infected with COVID-19 earlier. Unvaccinated people need to continue to practice prevention behaviors to avoid infection.

After vaccination it is important to continue to practice prevention practices. There are two well-known features of the vaccines for COVID-19: (1) they are not instantaneously effective and (2) one dose does not provide protection sufficient to allow immunized individuals to consider themselves immune from COVID, even after two weeks have elapsed. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 after getting immunized, it is still very possible that you acquired COVID-19, and you should self-isolate and immediately seek tested. If you have had your first vaccine dose, make sure to get your second one scheduled.

Scientific evidence is strong for the effectiveness of several risk mitigation behaviors: (1) wear a mask when around others, and avoid neck gaiters and vented masks, (2) keep a distance of no-less than 6-feet from others, more is better (3) avoid crowds, (4) wash hands frequently, (5) favor gathering with people outside over inside, and open windows (even a few inches helps) when feasible with others while inside, and (6) wear a mask and crack windows when you must travel with others in a vehicle.

There is strong evidence that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 is occurring via aerosols. Aerosols are very small liquid particles that are breathed out when people speak, and they can float in the air like smoke for hours. Loud talking, singing, and heavy breathing from exercise generate a significant volume of aerosol particles. As a result, indoor gatherings are risky, especially when turnover of the air is infrequent. Aerosol transmission can occur at much greater distances than 6-feet. People should assume that there is no safe distance from others indoors in poorly ventilated rooms. Multiple high-quality studies have identified indoor visits to restaurants and bars as one of the most common modes of infection.   

There are currently few delays in getting appointments for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and results are being returned quickly. An exception is prior to holidays. If you plan to be tested prior to holidays be aware that delays in getting appointments and return of results may occur.  

Area hospitals are currently well capacitated to manage the case load of COVID-19 admissions.

COVID-19 Projections for South Carolina

Modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) shows projections for South Carolina.

COVID-19 Projections for the MUSC University Hospital

We are in the process of developing a hospital impact model, that will provide analysis of patients seeking care at MUSC University Hospital over time for the current stage of the pandemic. Results will be updated when they become available.