News Releases

News Releases

Dr. Bell: “Children’s Routine Vaccinations Cannot be Forgotten”; Latest COVID-19 Update (August 18, 2020)

August 18, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. —  As schools and universities across the state begin the school year, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reminds parents how essential routine vaccinations are in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected routine clinical care. Children need to be up to date on the vaccines outlined in the South Carolina Immunization Requirements for Childcare and School before they may attend school.  All children need protection whether they attend school in-person or virtually, and the agency provides low-cost vaccines to those who qualify.

“Similar to the rest of the country, South Carolina saw a reduction in routine pediatric vaccine orders and administered doses during the months of March and April in 2020,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “Vaccination is one of the most successful public health interventions in history for reducing disease spread and preventing complications and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. With COVID-19’s prevalence across our state, we need to keep our children healthy and safe at all costs, and we must use the vaccines that medical science has afforded us to help prevent illnesses likes mumps, measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough.”

A hepatitis A vaccine is a new requirement for children for the 2020-2021 school year. Find a list of required and recommend vaccinations for school and child care here. Parents should contact their child’s doctor for a vaccine history and DHEC provides low-cost vaccinations to eligible children, as provided hereBe sure to have your child's immunization records with you when visiting your DHEC Public Health Department for school vaccinations. A copy of your child's immunization history can be obtained from their pediatrician.

“Children’s routine vaccinations cannot be forgotten and have never been more important,” Bell said. “There is no vaccine for COVID-19, and one of the few things we can do to protect ourselves from this deadly virus is to stay as healthy as possible and avoid contracting vaccine-preventable diseases that can severely complicate the outcome for those who could become ill and also contract COVID-19.”

Latest COVID-19 Update (August 18, 2020)
DHEC today announced 691 new confirmed cases and 15 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, 47 additional confirmed deaths and 10 new probable deaths.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 106,574, probable cases to 1,098, confirmed deaths to 2,230, and 113 probable deaths.

Confirmed and probable cases: please click here.
Confirmed and probable deaths: please click here.

More Than 150 Mobile Testing Clinics Scheduled Statewide
Testing for COVID-19 is essential because it helps identify people who are infected with the virus, whether or not they have symptoms, so they can isolate themselves and keep those around them from becoming infected, especially at-risk individuals who can develop life-threatening illness if they contract the virus. Identifying those with COVID-19 who have symptoms helps ensure they receive the medical treatment they need.

DHEC is working with community partners to make testing available in communities across the state. Currently, there are 152 mobile testing events scheduled through October 13 with new testing events added regularly. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at

Residents can visit for information about getting tested at one of 227 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state.

Testing in South Carolina
As of yesterday, a total of 940,948 tests have been conducted in the state. See a detailed breakdown of tests in South Carolina on the Data and Projections webpage. DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory is operating extended hours and is testing specimens seven days a week, and the Public Health Laboratory’s current timeframe for providing results to health care providers is 24-48 hours

Percent Positive
The total number of individual test results reported to DHEC yesterday statewide was 3,716 (not including antibody tests) and the percent positive was 18.6%.

Hospital Bed Occupancy
Since July 22, the federal government has required hospitals nationwide to report data directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a new TeleTracking system, which replaces the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Healthcare Safety Network system that had been used initially by hospitals for reporting COVID-19 data.

Hospitals report their information each day to HHS by way of TeleTracking, and that same reporting is also provided to DHEC. Click here to view data from today's TeleTracking report.

COVID-19 Information
For the latest information related to COVID-19 visit Visit for stress, anxiety and mental health resources from the S.C. Department of Mental Health.

*As new information is provided to the department, some changes in cases may occur. Cases are reported based on the person’s county of residence, as it is provided to the department. DHEC’s COVID-19 map will adjust to reflect any reclassified cases.



COVID-19 Media Relations