News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Confirms First Three Cases of Omicron Variant in South Carolina; Vaccines and Masks Continue to be Best Protection

December 15, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Today, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed the state’s first three reported cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

These cases were identified via whole genome sequencing by the Medical University of South Carolina, and DHEC has confirmed all three individuals were contacted for case investigation and contact tracing.

All three cases are adults from the Lowcountry region. Per DHEC policy, all personal information provided to us through contact tracing interviews is voluntary and confidential.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we would see confirmed cases of the Omicron variant here in South Carolina,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “As we get further into the winter holiday season, it is more important than ever for our unvaccinated population to begin their COVID-19 vaccination series, and for fully vaccinated individuals to get their booster shot when eligible. These vaccines are saving lives every day and are incredibly effective against Omicron, Delta and every other known variant of COVID-19.”

DHEC is committed to ensuring South Carolinians have the most up-to-date, accurate information about COVID-19, including variants of concern (VOC) such as Omicron that have been identified by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Please visit our website,, for the latest information.

The best way to prevent severe illness and hospitalization or death from COVID-19 infection are by:

  • getting fully vaccinated then receiving the follow-up booster shot when eligible
  • continuing to wear masks when indoors in public places, and
  • practicing social distancing when appropriate. 

Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 and the quickest way to end this pandemic. DHEC strongly encourages South Carolinians ages five and older to complete their COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible and get their booster shot once they are eligible. 

For the latest information about COVID-19 and ways to protect yourself and your family, go to



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