Coronavirus updates for March 22: Here’s what to know in South Carolina this week

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back each week for updates.

Nearly 1,900 COVID cases added in SC last week

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Tuesday, March 21, reported 1,892 COVID-19 cases for the week ending March 18 and 13 coronavirus-related deaths for the week ending March 11.

The counts include probable and confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

An estimated 1.8 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the Palmetto State, and more than 19,600 people have died as a result of the virus since March 2020, according to state health officials. Data shows new COVID-19 cases are down up 0.1% compared with this time last week.

As of March 19, 148 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus in South Carolina (with 60 hospitals reporting), including 17 patients in intensive care units, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Going forward, DHEC said it will use “the CDC data for South Carolina to show our state’s Inpatient Bed Usage and Intensive Care Unit Bed Usage statistics.”

Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 made up more than 90% of all COVID-19 strains identified in South Carolina for the week ending March 4, data shows. The DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory conducts sequencing on randomly chosen samples as part of nationwide efforts to find out about new strains of the virus, the agency’s website reads.

The state’s latest vaccination numbers show 54% of eligible South Carolina residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and just over 62% have received at least one dose.

People vaccinated after COVID infection may still be at risk, study suggests

People who rolled up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine after catching the virus could still be at risk of reinfection, according to a recent study.

Previous research suggested hybrid immunity may offer the best protection against getting sick regardless of whether the infection or vaccination happened first, McClatchy News reported. A newer study published March 15 suggests otherwise, and researchers say the order of events matter.

Researchers looked at blood samples from people who completed Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine series and compared them with those of people who were not vaccinated and caught COVID-19, according the report published in the journal Immunity.

They found that those who were vaccinated but didn’t catch the virus were most protected, McClatchy News reported, citing a National Institutes of Health news release. People who were vaccinated post-infection still had better protection than those who were unvaccinated and had COVID-19 previously.

To learn more, read the full story here.

Woman developed ‘face blindness’ after COVID infection, study says

A 28-year-old woman said her father was unrecognizable after her COVID-19 infection, according to a study published in the journal Cortex.

The woman, identified by researchers as Annie, developed a neurological condition called prosopagnosia, or “face blindness,” seven weeks after contracting COVID-19 in March 2020, McClatchy News reported, citing the report. The condition left her unable to recognize her dad’s face.

A few of her symptoms returned, she was disoriented and said “something was off with faces,” according to researchers at Dartmouth College. Annie also said it was difficult to navigate places that were familiar to her.

“The combination of prosopagnosia and navigational deficits that Annie had is something that caught our attention because the two deficits often go hand in hand after somebody either has had brain damage or developmental deficits,” Brad Duchaine, senior author of the current study, said in a news release.

Researchers said Annie’s case is the first report of “face blindness” after developing COVID-19 symptoms.

Read more here.

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