Another 1,481 Beaufort County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials announced on Saturday.

About 39.5% of county residents who are 15 or older have now received a shot, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, and 60.5% of residents have yet to get a dose.

A daily average of about 915 new first-dose vaccinations were reported among residents over the past week, although the figures are reported on a two-day delay.

Coronavirus spread, meanwhile, remains low after a winter surge, though health experts are concerned that the United States could face a fourth wave of infections.

DHEC data show that daily case counts in South Carolina began to level out about three weeks ago.

In Beaufort County, health officials confirmed 11 new coronavirus cases and six probable infections on Saturday. DHEC reported one new probable coronavirus-related death, an elderly person, the agency said.

Jasper County recorded two new confirmed cases and no deaths Saturday.

Local numbers

COVID-19 inoculation rate for Beaufort County residents as of Thursday (the most recent date for which data are available): 3,946 vaccine recipients per 10,000 residents. That’s the fifth-highest rate in South Carolina, though it could be inflated to some degree due to a ZIP code-level data issue.

Statewide numbers

ZIP code data

Bluffton’s ZIP code of 29910 now leads the county with 13,726 vaccinations since late last year. Okatie’s 29909 ZIP code, which includes Sun City Hilton Head, has recorded 12,445 resident inoculations, which is the second-highest figure in the county (though that may be an overcount).

Hilton Head Island’s 29926 ZIP code, covering the north side, has 10,222 vaccinations. The 29928 ZIP code, covering the southeastern part of the island, has 8,395 vaccinations, according to DHEC.

Beaufort’s 29902 ZIP code has reported 4,336 inoculations.

DHEC releases most of its coronavirus vaccine data based on residency. If a Beaufort County resident is vaccinated out of state or in a different S.C. county, they would still be counted in DHEC’s Beaufort County-specific ZIP code data.

More information on ZIP code-level vaccine data can be found at the following link online:

Virus spread in Beaufort County

Two-week cumulative incidence rate as of Wednesday: 88.5 cases per 100,000 people, a “moderate” rate under DHEC’s definition. An incidence rate measures how quickly a disease is spreading through a given population.

Dr. Scott Curry, an infectious disease specialist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, has previously said counties should aim to have a two-week incidence rate of less than 50 new cases per 100,000 people.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING How we covered this story

Facts about COVID-19 vaccine distribution in South Carolina are changing rapidly. The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette are trying to publish important information as quickly and accurately as possible. This story may be updated if more information becomes available or if facts become clearer.

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Lucas Smolcic Larson joined The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette as a projects reporter in 2019, after graduating from Brown University. His work has won Rhode Island and South Carolina Press Association awards for education and investigative reporting. He previously worked as an intern at The Washington Post and the Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington D.C. Lucas hails from central Pennsylvania and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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