By HEATHER WALTERS
Any Colleton County resident over the age of 16 and who wants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can now receive it, according to South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine policy.
With the new and final phase of the Palmetto State’s vaccine distribution plans in place, additional vaccination clinics in Colleton County have been established.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced recently that all South Carolinians who age 16 or older can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as of March 31st. This was part of the Palmetto State’s phased-vaccination plan.
According to information provided by Meagan Utsey, administrative services director for Colleton County, the following vaccination clinics are now scheduled:
• Palmetto Palace Vaccination Clinic, which will be held on May 22nd from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Neyles Community Center, located at 445 Featherbed Road in Walterboro;
• Walgreens at 1326 N. Jefferies Blvd. in Walterboro is providing ongoing vaccines for those who pre-register at https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19.;
• CVS at 555 Robertson Blvd. in Walterboro is providing vaccines for those who register at https://www.cvs.com/vaccine/intake/store/cvd-schedule?icid=coronavirus-lp-vaccine-sd-statetool.;
• The Walterboro Pharmacy LLC, located at 1315 N. Jefferies Blvd., is offering COVID-19 vaccines to those who call 843-782-4050;
• Walterboro Family Care, located at 457 Spruce St. in Walterboro, is providing vaccines to those who make an appointment at 843-781-7428.
Colleton County COVID-19 Statistics
To date, Colleton County officials have been notified of 2,562 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, with 51 of these cases being listed as “current,” according to SCDHEC.
So far, there have been 105 deaths in Colleton County related to the COVID-19 respiratory virus.
COVID-19 and Colleton County Schools
The Colleton County School Board has voted 6-1 to expand the district’s in-person learning.
The expansion will allow students to attend school five days each week, starting May 3rd.
The vote comes as the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Colleton County are decreasing.
Current Colleton students who are learning through the in-person model can attend classes five days a week, Monday through Friday, starting May 3rd. Currently, students are attending four days a week. The instructional days for Colleton schools are:
Black Street Early Childhood Center, 7:30 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.;
All elementary schools, 7:30 A.M. TO 2:15 P.M.;
Colleton County Middle School, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.,
Colleton County High School, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Bus routes and school arrival and dismissal times will remain the same, according to Sean Gruber, spokesman for the local school district.
“Protecting our staff and students during the COVID-19 pandemic remains CCSD’s first priority,” said Sean Gruber, communications director for the Colleton County School District. “In order to keep our school facilities as safe as possible as the district expands in-person learning, CCSD continue to utilize the safety practices.”
Colleton County Schools continue to practice safety protocols. These protocols include:
More than 6,000 desk barriers being in place districtwide;
Schools and buses are cleaned daily;
Anyone visiting the district property and schools are required to wear a mask throughout the instructional day;
Students undergo temperature checks upon entering the district’s buildings and schools;
Social distancing is enforced at all district events.
COVID and the Colleton Medical Center
Colleton Medical Center now is operating with extended visitor hours for its patients. The new visitor hours began on Monday, March 29th. They allow visitors to see patients from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The hospital is also adjusting its current COVID-19 patients to allow virus-free patients to have an increased number of visitors: all patients at Colleton Medical Center who do not test positive for the Coronavirus will be allowed to have two visitors at a time.
According to Christan Spires, spokeswoman for Colleton Medical Center, hospital officials have loosened its regulations surrounding its visitation policy amid the virus for three main reasons: there is a reduction of positive COVID-19 cases in Colleton Medical Center, there is an overall reduction of positive cases in Colleton County and more people are getting vaccinated against the respiratory virus.
“We feel we can safely make these changes due to our current COVID-19 positive caseload, vaccine availability, and continued hand hygiene and universal masking procedures taken within the hospital,” she said.
Colleton Medical Center will continue to screen its patients for COVID-19 upon entry into the hospital. Guests must also wear masks inside the hospital and use proper hand-hygiene procedures.