Aiken, S.C. (WJBF)- South Carolina is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Right now 23 counties have high levels of cases and 19 counties are in the medium ranges. This is a big difference from the fall when all South Carolina counties were at low levels.

In the NewsChannel 6 viewing area, Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties are all in that medium range right now.

The CSRA isn’t seeing high levels of cases and Barnwell, Bamberg and Allendale are all experiencing low levels of COVID cases.

The most recent numbers from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) show nearly 11,300 new COVID cases in South Carolina in just one week. And those are just the numbers being reported. They don’t count people who tested positive at home.

Deaths are at 138 in one week according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s up 86 over the previous week’s numbers.

A medical consultant with DHEC said they are seeing a trend on who is being hospitalized and dying from the disease.

“The hardest hit groups are the elderly, so people over 65 and people with underlying medical conditions that predispose them to a more severe outcome that requires hospitalization,” explained Dr. Jonathan Knoche.

Dr. Knoche said that although the number of deaths in South Carolina isn’t as high as it was early in the pandemic, officials at DHEC are still worried.

“We’re certainly concerned about the number of deaths that we’re seeing and particularly the trajectory with it going up over the last couple of weeks. We were at a relatively low level and then we are seeing, after the holiday season these numbers going up with a couple of week trend already, and that’s concerning obviously,” Dr. Knoche said.

For those counties with medium levels of COVID cases, DHEC recommends masking if you have COVID symptoms or have been recently exposed to it, and if you are immunocompromised. DHEC also recommends staying up to date on your vaccines and boosters.

In Georgia, all of the counties in the NewsChannel 6 viewing area are at low levels except three. Johnson, Emmanuel and Screven Counties are all experiencing medium levels of COVID-19 cases.

Photojournalist: Will Baker.