IMPH Executive Director Maya Pack spoke with WBTW on Feb. 4, 2021, regarding IMPH and DHEC’s COVID-19 2020 Summary Report and dove into specific data for Florence and Dillon counties.

The post-holiday surge of coronavirus cases has slowed down dramatically in South Carolina, but doctors warn that what’s needed to crush the virus is far from over.

The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) says Florence and Dillon are two of the three counties with the highest rates of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. IMPH released a study last week that it did with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

IMPH executive director Maya Pack says Dillon and Florence counties were so high because of more community spread due to less testing, racial inequalities in healthcare and more pre-existing chronic illnesses.

“In the last year it was measured, Dillon [County] ranked 43 out of 46 counties in the state for overall health outcomes,” said Pack.

IMPH also says South Carolina’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people jumped 58.2% last month. Since the pandemic’s highest peak around Jan. 10, there are signs for cautious optimism.

According to DHEC data, the state’s weekly case rate has been almost cut in half since mid-January to a level not seen since before Christmas. In our area, coronavirus cases have dropped as much as around 70% in Georgetown County and parts of the Pee Dee. Read the full story by Chris Spiker here.