BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Throughout the pandemic milestones have been acknowledged whether they are good or bad. Tuesday, one massive milestone in South Carolina is letting locals look back on how COVID has changed in the last year.
One year ago, the stay-at-home order in South Carolina was lifted and just over a week ago, the mask mandate was lifted for most of Beaufort County. COVID numbers reflected all of those changes and how far people have come.
One year ago, Governor Henry McMaster lifted the stay at home order for South Carolinians and for the first time in over a month, many businesses could reopen. At the time, only a handful of cases were being reported each day in Beaufort County. Typically, just five or six.
But by the time summer rolled around, hundreds of cases were being reported each day. Throughout the last year, daily case numbers rose and fell while municipalities kept mask mandates in place.
But, last week, after seeing consistently lower numbers, many municipalities in Beaufort County allowed their mask ordinances to expire. Now, COVID numbers are back to the same rates they were one year ago.
Two days ago, just six cases were reported, a few less than reported this week last year. But in the time in between, more than 14,000 cases have been confirmed. The mayor of Beaufort says these low numbers are a good sign.
“It’s been a rough year. It has been rough on a lot of businesses; it’s been a rough on a lot of people’s health. But I am proud of our community. I think if you compare us to some of the other areas around the country and around the world, I think we’ve done a really nice job of trying to balance public health and safety but also keeping our economy open and trying to figure out how to work towards normal,” Beaufort Mayor Stephen Murray said.
Mask mandates were lifted last week as Beaufort County reached a point of having more than 77,000 individuals vaccinated, which is about 40 percent of the county’s population.