Report: COVID-19 trends in Lowcountry

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2023 at 10:07 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Although it is over three years since the pandemic began in the U.S., COVID-19 is still a concern.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. are up 18.8% in recent weeks, according to the CDC.

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control says they have seen an increase in reported cases over the past few weeks as the new school year begins.

Data from the CDC shows that current increases in the county have stayed below earlier peaks and surges, but there is a 17.6% trend increase in deaths in recent weeks.

Last week, it was reported that MUSC has seen COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Tri-County up 43%.

Roper St. Francis reports it is hard to get an exact number with at-home testing, but they have seen a spike since school has started again.

“I think since COVID is just so much out in the community right now, certainly since the beginning of July we’ve seen an uptick,” Roper St. Francis Family Physician, Valerie Scott, says. “It’s wise if you’ll test for COVID.”

Trident Medical Center says they are seeing a low level of cases and a downward trend across South Carolina hospitalizations.

“I think what we’re also seeing is COVID becomes more endemic rather than a pandemic,” Trident’s Chief Medical Officer, Jane Appleby, M.D., says. “It’s in the environment, and we’ll see influxes; we’ll see a little rise and a little fall.”

“Probably what we’ll see as similar to other upper respiratory illnesses, is that we’ll get up ticks of COVID in the community that won’t be as severe,” she adds.

Scott says they have seen some increased long-term issues from those who have had COVID-19, even for people who have had mild symptoms.

“More importantly, we’re also seeing an increase in dementia in people who’ve had COVID, and in people who have mild cognitive deficits, that can throw them into dementia,” she adds. “So even if it’s a mild course, this is something you need to be careful about.”

Both still recommend people to test for COVID-19 and take the same precautions that have been taken in the past.

“We may have a lot of our friends having it, but it won’t cause the devastation that we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, because right now most people have either been vaccinated or they’ve had COVID before so there’s some natural immunity,” Appleby says.