News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Analysis: Majority of Severe COVID-19 Cases Among Unvaccinated Individuals

October 5, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) most recent data analysis shows that the majority of recent COVID-19 cases, including severe cases, remain among individuals who are not fully vaccinated. 
From Aug. 16 through Sept. 15, DHEC reported 149,738 cases among South Carolinians.

  • Among the 31,993 reported cases where we were able to determine vaccine status, 27,435 (85.8%) of cases were considered not fully vaccinated.  
  • Among the 1,771 reported cases who were hospitalized with COVID and where we were able to determine vaccine status, 1,277 (72.1%) were considered not fully vaccinated*.  
  • Among the 760 reported deaths from COVID where vaccine status was able to be determined, 589 (77.5%) were considered not fully vaccinated

Additional DHEC data points from this analysis shows how many breakthrough cases are among with those with preexisting/comorbid conditions:

  • Among the 411 reported cases who were hospitalized with COVID and fully vaccinated (that we were able to determine the vaccination and comorbid status):
    • 388 (94.4%) has preexisting/ comorbid conditions.
  • Among the 143 reported deaths from COVID who were fully vaccinated (where we were able to determine the vaccination and comorbid status):
    • 138 (96.5%) had preexisting/ comorbid conditions.

“We continue to see the majority of severe cases occurring among our fellow South Carolinians who are not fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “Not being fully vaccinated puts people at increased risk of being hospitalized or dying if they become infected with COVID-19.”

DHEC will continue releasing this provisional data twice a month which can be found here. Additionally, DHEC is tracking breakthrough cases on its website. That page can be found here.

In addition to vaccinations, DHEC strongly encourages the use of masks in public and indoor settings, especially in our schools. A recent CDC report highlights the effectiveness of wearing masks, including one study from Arizona that revealed schools were 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks if they did not have a mask requirement at the start of school compared with schools that required universal masking on day one.

Another study found that during the two weeks following the start of school, the average change in pediatric COVID-19 case rates was lower among counties with school mask requirements – about 16 cases per 100,000 people per day – compared with counties without school mask requirements who had about 35 cases per 100,000 people per day.

“The evidence is clear: the combination of vaccines and masking has and is saving lives,” Traxler added. “Not only that, but in areas where vaccinations and masking are higher, we see people are better able to return to their regular lives. We want to see that across our state. We owe it to our children and ourselves to follow these two key recommendations so we can finally end this pandemic.”


COVID-19 Media Relations Statewide