MUSC COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project Lancaster

COVID-19 Status Summary for the Lancaster metropolitan area (Lancaster and Chester Counties)

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

View information for the Charleston metropolitan area (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties)

Updated 7/23/2021 | About This Project

Click here for a description of the 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.

 

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

 

MUSC COVID-19 Situation Assessment 

Click here for a description of the Methods and Metrics:

Metric Status as of July 21st
Weekly Change of Reported COVID-19 Infections
RED: +88%
Trajectory of documented cases (Increasing or Decreasing)
RED
 Number of Reported COVID-19 cases in last week
RED: 97 cases reported week of
(July 13th –July 19th)
Diagnostic Availability Testing
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, June 14th - Tuesday, July 20th, 2021.

The Delta variant (originally identified in India) is rapidly spreading in the US, and it is estimated that within weeks it will be the predominant version of the virus. The Delta variant is between 50% - 60% more transmissible than the current version of the virus and leads to more severe cases of COVID-19 with double the rate of hospitalization. Vaccination is the most potent and durable way to protect yourself from COVID-19, including the Delta variant. 
Currently, there is adequate capacity to manage the case load of COVID-19 admissions in area hospitals.    
This week the 7-day average of new infections increased 52% since the prior week. Those without immunity from vaccination or a recent infection (past 7-months) are still at risk. It is important that those without immunity from vaccination or a recent infection maintain sustained vigilance in practicing behavioral prevention such as wearing masks, keeping a distance from others, avoiding indoor gatherings, and good hand hygiene.    
The current number of infections diagnosed each day for every 100,000 people (7-day rolling average) is 10.6. In the prior week this value was 6.9. Be aware that these values can increase quickly, so it is important to remain vigilant.      
 This past week there were 97 cases in the past week, up from 63 in the prior week.   
There are an estimated 158 active infections diagnosed by lab testing. These people can infect other people. In the prior weekly report, there were 107 active cases. It is estimated that approximately 5 times the number of diagnosed cases go undiagnosed, yielding over 940 active cases in the area combining diagnosed and undiagnosed.
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 was a significant surge in COVID-19 cases over and after the winter holiday period, and this has subsided in most areas. There are significant concerns over new surges in infections in the coming months among those who have not been vaccinated due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant (originally from India). This variant is much more transmissible and causes worse health outcomes, including double the risk of hospitalization. 
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 very low risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19. Be aware that many people mistakenly believe that they have been infected with COVID-19 earlier. Those unvaccinated need to continue to practice prevention behaviors.
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.     

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 Lancaster Medical Center

We are in the process of developing a hospital impact model, that will provide analysis of patients seeking care at MUSC Lancaster Medical Center over time for the current stage of the pandemic. Results will be updated as soon as they are available.