When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lexington, SC


If you have been accused of a crime, the only thing standing between your continued freedom and harsh legal penalties is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Lexington, SC. That may seem harsh, but in this time of turmoil and uncertainty, having a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer on your side is key. Because the truth is that dealing with legal charges in Lexington can be a highly distressing ordeal, with even minor violations causing a considerable impact on an individual's personal and work life. The repercussions of having a criminal record can be severe, leading to loss of employment, severed relationships, and even alienation from loved ones.

At Theos Law Firm, we offer trustworthy legal representation to those who need it most. Our criminal defense team has years of experience and is committed to ensuring our clients maintain their freedom and can move forward with their lives. From handling drug-related charges to more nuanced federal cases and sexual misconduct offenses, we take a personalized approach to every case. By utilizing cutting-edge legal strategies and decades of combined experience, we have a much better opportunity to achieve the best possible client outcomes.

Service Areas

We help clients overcome criminal charges in a wide range of cases, including the following:

  • Homicides
  • Drug Crimes
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Violent Crimes
  • Misdemeanor Offenses
  • Federal Offenses
  • More

If you are facing one or more of the charges above, it's imperative that you establish contact with a legal advocate ASAP. At Theos Law, you can rest easy knowing our phone line is always open. When your future is up for grabs, let our team of criminal defense lawyers fight for your rights. It all starts with a free consultation at our law firm in Lexington, where we'll educate you on the particulars of the charges you're facing and explain the next steps ahead.

At this point, you probably have many questions in mind. Keep reading for more information on criminal law in South Carolina and some of our criminal defense specialties at Theos Law.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Lexington, SC

Understanding Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina


In South Carolina, criminal cases are classified into different categories based on the severity of the crime. Generally speaking, offenses that carry a maximum sentence of three years or less are categorized as misdemeanors. On the other hand, crimes that carry a punishment of more than three years in prison are generally classified as felonies.

State and Federal Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina

Crimes in The Palmetto State are usually split into two categories: state crimes and federal crimes. Classifications are based on whether a crime violates state laws or federal laws. Ultimately, it's up to the prosecutor to decide which category to pursue charges under. State crimes generally include assault, robbery, domestic violence, theft, and rape. Federal crimes, on the other hand, may be more complex and can include computer crime, major drug trafficking, hate crimes, and money laundering. These types of crimes are often investigated by agencies like the FBI or IRS.

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The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in South Carolina

Understanding the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony crime can be challenging for someone facing their first charge. Misdemeanors are generally considered minor offenses, resulting in fines or a short stay in a local county jail. Trials and plea deals for these cases move quickly due to their nature.

Conversely, felonies are more severe crimes classified by degrees, with first-degree being the most severe and sixth-degree being the least. Those charged with a felony may face significant fines and a prison sentence of over a year in a federal or state institution. Convicted felons may face difficulties after their release, making it crucial to have a reliable criminal defense attorney in Lexington, SC.

Plea Deals in South Carolina

It is not uncommon for legal cases to be resolved outside of court through a plea deal. This allows the defendant to acknowledge their guilt on one or more charges without the need for a trial. Both your criminal defense lawyer and the prosecutor collaborate to come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement, which helps avoid the uncertainties and dangers of a trial. By accepting a plea deal, you may receive a lighter sentence and avoid the anxiety that comes with a lengthy legal battle.

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When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lexington, SC?


At Theos Law Firm, we often receive questions from potential clients about when they should hire a criminal defense attorney for the charges that they're facing. Although each situation and client are unique, there are some common criminal situations to keep in mind. In general, it's always best to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you're charged or have been arrested.

Below are some guidelines to help you decide when it's necessary to retain a criminal defense attorney for your case in South Carolina.

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When You've Been Accused or Charged

Thinking about hiring a criminal defense lawyer when you're charged with a crime is a no-brainer for most, and for good reason. A defense lawyer can offer assistance with various offenses, ranging from minor crimes like retail theft and cyberstalking to more serious ones such as sexual assault and manslaughter. Regardless of the charges, navigating the legal system can be complex, and without the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the situation can escalate rapidly.

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When Investigators or Police Question You

As you may have observed in movies or television shows, the police might request you to provide a statement, giving the impression that you are not under arrest. If they suspect you of committing a crime but lack sufficient evidence to detain you, they may aim to put you at ease and elicit information that can be used against you. Remember, it is within your rights to have a criminal defense attorney in Lexington, SC, present during questioning, and you should absolutely use that to your advantage.

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When Authorities Search Your Residence

In the event that law enforcement officers arrive at your residence with a warrant, it indicates that a judge has determined there is reasonable suspicion that evidence related to a criminal offense is present in your home. Regardless of whether they discover and confiscate anything, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a seasoned defense attorney to discuss the situation and receive assistance in determining any potential charges or locations they may investigate in the future.

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When You Are Wrongly Accused of Committing a Crime

Could you imagine being accused of something you didn't do? When law enforcement, a judge, or a prosecutor accuses you of committing a crime that you didn't do, it can be an arduous task to prove your innocence, especially if you have a prior record. It can also feel hopeless and like it's impossible for you to get someone to listen to your side. The truth is that your past mistakes should not be used against you. To increase your chances of being cleared of charges, it's advisable to have a defense lawyer who can support your innocence and fight for your rights. Criminal defense attorneys at Theos Law don't just listen - we act swiftly and always with your best interests at heart.

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When Your Child Is Involved

The legal system for juveniles in South Carolina is different than it is for adults. It comes with its own complications and hurdles to overcome. If you think or know that your child has been accused of a crime, it's imperative to get legal counsel swiftly. Failure to do so could ruin their life or result in a longer-than-needed jail sentence.

Keep reading to learn more about just a few of the most common criminal defense cases we accept at Theos Law Firm.

Criminal Defense for DUIs in South Carolina


In terms of common criminal offenses in South Carolina, DUIs top the list, especially regarding mindful drivers with clean driving records and no criminal history. Unfortunately for these drivers, a DUI conviction in South Carolina stays on your record and cannot be expunged. Even first-time offenses with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent can be costly. Your insurance premiums go up for years, you may end up paying almost $1,000 in fines and fees, and there's a good chance you'll have to perform community service or serve jail time.

If your breathalyzer test result is more than .15%, you refuse the breathalyzer, or it is recorded as a refusal, your license will be automatically suspended, which complicates matters further. Throw in the possibility of interlock device rental, and your life may never be the same. For those reasons alone, it is crucial to approach such charges with the help of a DUI defense lawyer. At Theos Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience in successfully fighting these types of charges.

Fortunately, if you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, there is hope. That's especially true if the accused has undergone a breath or blood test for DUI. In fact, cases that involve such tests are successfully beaten every day. At Theos Law Firm, we will thoroughly investigate your DUI case in Lexington and explore every possible angle to have it dismissed.

To begin that process, your criminal defense lawyer in Lexington, SC, may seek answers to many questions, including:

  • Was your DUI stop legal? If not, your case could be thrown out.
  • Is there enough probable cause or evidence for an arrest? If there is not, it's possible to file a pre-trial motion for your case to be dismissed.
  • Did officers explain implied consent rights? One of the most common errors police make is failing to take this step.
  • Did the police maintain your BAC and breathalyzer results? Breath testing often comes with inherent weaknesses. This can create doubt in a juror's mind.
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Criminal Defense for Drug Cases in South Carolina


If you are dealing with drug-related crimes in Lexington or another city in South Carolina, it is crucial for you to understand the potential penalties involved. Possession of a controlled substance may fall under the category of a misdemeanor, but many drug offenses are considered felonies. Even a minor drug offense conviction can result in long-lasting negative consequences. As such, it's always advisable to explore your options and seek the assistance of a Lexington drug crime attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help safeguard your rights and may help achieve a favorable outcome.

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Theos Law is, "What does possession mean?”

Drug charges based on possession in South Carolina are divided into three categories:

  • Simple Possession
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking

However, the state also has other drug charges that are not based on the weight of the drugs. These include:

  • Drug Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution Near Schools, Parks, or Playgrounds
Criminal Defense Lawyer Lexington, SC

Possession-based drug charges in South Carolina are deemed "graduated offenses" with penalties that grow more severe based on the weight of the drugs. It's important to note that the charges can be based on either actual or constructive possession. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Lexington, SC, today to learn more about the complexities involved with drug cases in Lexington and other cities in South Carolina.

Some of the most common drug charges we see at Theos Law include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD and Hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Prescription Pain Killers
  • Fentanyl
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Can I be Arrested for Drug Paraphernalia in South Carolina?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding "Yes.” Drug paraphernalia can refer to various items such as pipes, bongs, syringes, scales, grinders, and rolling papers which are linked to drug usage, preparation, storage, or hiding. Even though some of these items may have legitimate uses, like tobacco pipes or medical syringes, they can still be scrutinized by law enforcement if there is proof of illegal drug use or intent.

Criminal Defense for Assault and Battery Cases in South Carolina


If you are facing assault and battery charges, it is possible that you haven't actually physically harmed someone. Many people associate assault and battery with brutal beatings, but that is just one example. There are other situations that are less severe than what people typically imagine.

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It's a common misunderstanding that physical injury is required for assault and battery charges. The fines, penalties, and jail time you may face depend on the severity of your charges and the number of offenses. Regardless of the degree of your charges, Assault and Battery is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of a conviction can be life-changing, and as such, your criminal defense lawyer in Lexington, SC, should work relentlessly to fight the charges being levied against you.

Though this list isn't comprehensive, here are some of the biggest factors that dictate the severity of your assault and battery charges:

  • Age of Victim
  • Severity of Injuries Sustained
  • Size and Weight of Accused vs. Size and Weight of Victim
  • Whether or Not the Victim Presses Charges
  • Whether or Not Weapons Were Involved
  • Whether or Not the Victim's Privates Were Touched

Understanding the Degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina

Third Degree

Causing harm to someone or threatening to do so with the ability to carry out the threat can result in a charge of third-degree assault and battery. This misdemeanor offense is typically heard in municipal or magistrate courts and may carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Second Degree

Causing harm or making threats to harm someone that results in moderate bodily injury can lead to charges of second-degree assault and battery. Additionally, touching someone's private parts without their consent can also result in charges of assault and battery in the second degree. This misdemeanor offense is heard in General Session court and can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

First Degree

Assault and Battery in the first degree can involve a number of actions such as inflicting an unlawful injury when kidnapping, touching a person's privates "with lewd and lascivious intent,” and much more. Contact Theos Law Firm for more info on the degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina.

Everyone Deserves a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney in Lexington, SC


At Theos Law firm, we work tirelessly to ensure that our client's rights are not overlooked. Because unfortunately, the rights of everyday citizens are often trampled by law enforcement oversights and legal system failures.

That's why every criminal defense lawyer at our firm works hard to provide guidance and support throughout the legal process by keeping you informed of updates and as comfortable as possible during this trying time. Benefits of hiring Theos Law Firm include:

  • Thorough Knowledge of South Carolina Criminal Law & Procedures
  • Seasoned Legal Representation in the Courtroom
  • Years of Experience Structuring Plea bargains
  • Ability to Identify Due Process Violations
  • Fierce Dedication to Clients & Vigorous Representation
  • Skilled Negotiation Tactics Involved with Bail, Sentencing, Appeals, and More
  • Familiarity with Local Prosecutors

Unlike some criminal defense law firms in South Carolina, our team believes that everyone deserves a great lawyer when their freedoms are on the line. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in South Carolina, trust Theos Law to have your back without judgment.

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Latest News in Lexington, SC

Short-term rental regulations clear another hurdle in Lexington County

LEXINGTON — Lexington County is taking steps toward managing short-term rentals, drafting an early version of regulations for properties under sites like Airbnb and VRBO.The ...

LEXINGTON — Lexington County is taking steps toward managing short-term rentals, drafting an early version of regulations for properties under sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

The ordinance draft presented at County Council’s Aug. 8 committee meeting outlines rules for a laundry list of specs, including parking, maximum occupancy, minimum rental age, minimum stay length, property maintenance and sewage disposal.

“This was simply to get the ball rolling to get some text out for more discussion,” said Robbie Derrick, director of community development for Lexington County.

He expects the council to provide feedback that will lead to changes in the proposed rules before a final vote.

Lexington County has tossed around the idea of regulating short-term rentals for several months but the committee meeting represented a concrete step forward in the process. Through the regulations the county hopes to address some concerns from its building inspections division and prioritize the health of Lake Murray, the county’s biggest tourism draw and the area where most of the short-term rental activity has taken place.

A popular subject for debate in South Carolina municipalities, regulations on short-term rentals through services like Airbnb and VRBO are a balancing act in Lexington and elsewhere. Local governments are grappling with how to regulate the new system for vacation housing without squashing tourism.

In response to the early draft discussed Aug. 8, several council members requested even tighter restrictions.

One request came to bump the minimum stay length at non-owner-occupied properties from the suggested one-night requirement to a minimum of three nights.

Additionally, the draft suggested that renters be 18 years old or older, but Lexington County Council Chairwoman Beth Carrigg suggested the minimum age requirement be 21 or even 25 years old.

Council member Todd Cullum warned against overcomplicating the ordinance, suggesting instead the council make it “very simple and clear and have it enforceable.”

“That’s the key for all of this to work,” Cullum said.

County Council still has to tackle the challenge of how these proposed regulations would be enforced. Asking the Sheriff’s Department to respond to complaints about short-term rental violations would cause unnecessary strain on a team that is already stretched thin, some council members said.

The council is considering delegating the responsibility of keeping short-term rentals regulated to a county staff code enforcer, but vowed to return to the idea once a more finalized version of the ordinance is drafted.

Palmetto Politics

The council will ask representatives from Airbnb and VRBO to meet with the county.

COLUMBIA — The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is planning for a new $115 million public health laboratory in northeast Columbia.

The new space will replace and be built next to the existing facility on Parklane Road, near the Gable Hill Apartment Homes and several other state government offices.

The current lab building is 50 years old and experiencing infrastructure issues related to its HVAC system, electrical systems and internet connection, according to scientists who work in the lab.

Assistant Laboratory Director Ona Adair said the DHEC lab is one of the oldest in the country among state public health labs.

“We have to do patchwork to get things back up and running,” Adair said. “We have to do whatever we can do to keep the building functioning until we can occupy a new space.”

The new 140,000 square-foot building will give the lab more space and more advanced equipment needed by the department for testing. The current building is 87,000 square feet.

On the public health side, the lab will continue to be used for testing for disease prevention, disease control and surveillance; food safety testing; newborn screenings; public health preparedness; and infectious disease.

The lab is also used by the environmental side of DHEC to test water systems throughout the state and monitor air pollution, according to Michael Mattocks, DHEC’s assistant bureau chief of environmental laboratories.

“It’s very hard to support the valuable work and the number of staff that we have in the building,” Mattocks said of the current facility.

The initial construction plans are approved, and DHEC is in the process of ordering HVAC, elevator and other equipment for the building. Flags can be seen on the site outlining where construction is planned.

Plans for the new site were unanimously approved by the Columbia Planning Commission on Oct. 30.

Construction of the new lab is expected to finish in 2026, DHEC Director Edward Simmer said during an October board meeting.

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department report on suspect’s death is one sentence long

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department incident report on a suspect’s death doesn’t explain the incident or who was there.The report is one sentence long with the names of the involved deputies redacted.The only documented information available about the death of 32-year-old Lexington County man Bernice Junior Smith is from an LCSD press release....

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department incident report on a suspect’s death doesn’t explain the incident or who was there.

The report is one sentence long with the names of the involved deputies redacted.

The only documented information available about the death of 32-year-old Lexington County man Bernice Junior Smith is from an LCSD press release.

The department claims Smith was at the Red Bank Walmart on South Lake Drive on August 9. The press release states a deputy saw him and knew he had an outstanding arrest warrant for shoplifting.

The department claims Smith ran into the woods, deputies chased him and used a taser on him after he wouldn’t follow their commands.

They were walking Smith back to the patrol car in handcuffs when he needed medical assistance. The Lexington County Coroner’s Office announced he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The incident report covers none of the department’s narrative, only stating:

“Deputies responded to this location in reference to warrant service.”

Lexington County Sheriff's Department by T R on Scribd

The report does describe Smith as a “fugitive from justice.” It does not show he was in possession of any weapons.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department refused to provide the report to WIS, citing the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s ongoing investigation.

However, LCSD spokesperson Capt. Adam Myrick confirmed it was the only incident report generated.

He said the department would not be releasing the names of the deputies involved. He also declined to provide further specifics on what happened.

WIS asked Myrick why the report was so short, who wrote it, how much discretion deputies have on report detail, and if the deputy was instructed to keep it brief.

Myrick has not responded to those questions.

SLED provided the report to WIS, but redacted the names of the deputies. WIS has reached out to SLED spokesperson Renee Wunderlich asking on what legal basis the names have been redacted.

She has not yet responded.

It remains unclear what led to the use of the taser.

LCSD policy describes a taser as an intermediate weapon, but it may have contributed to a lethal result.

The policy defines lethal force as “likely to cause great bodily injury or death.”

It addresses the requirement for the use of lethal force, including:

WIS has submitted multiple Freedom of Information Act requests with LCSD and SLED for more information on what happened.

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Emergency services, schools must sign off on new home development in Lexington County

LEXINGTON — Virtually all new residential development in Lexington County will require a nod from area emergency departments, school districts and waste management under an ordinance given initial approval by County Council on Oct. 10.The new regulation was prompted by long-held concerns over traffic, emergency response times and overcrowding in schools within the Midlands’ fastest-growing county.“It’s very hard to continue to produce neighborhoods for people to move into when we don’t have the ser...

LEXINGTON — Virtually all new residential development in Lexington County will require a nod from area emergency departments, school districts and waste management under an ordinance given initial approval by County Council on Oct. 10.

The new regulation was prompted by long-held concerns over traffic, emergency response times and overcrowding in schools within the Midlands’ fastest-growing county.

“It’s very hard to continue to produce neighborhoods for people to move into when we don’t have the services,” said Council Chairwoman Beth Carrigg of her support for the measure.


The new rule went into effect immediately following two 6-2 votes and applies to new subdivisions of 10 or more homes on lots less than 1.5 acres, mobile home parks, duplexes, townhomes and apartments that have not yet made a formal application with the county.

The change is just the latest effort by the Lexington County Council to slow an explosive pace of development in the historically rural county.

About two years ago, the county enacted limits on density and increased green space requirements within new subdivision proposals that hold developers to as few as one or two homes per acre across a large portion of the county. As part of that process, the county put a monthslong moratorium on new neighborhoods as it finalized changes.

Before that, the council had enacted a countywide housing-density limit, holding subdivisions to no more than four homes per acre.

Carrigg said these actions by the council have been to ensure a safe and healthy environment for residents.

She said the county’s struggle to hire first responders since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is of particular concern. For example, Lexington County’s fire department has 40 open positions.

“It’s wholly unfair to burden our first responders with continued development when they can’t meet expectations,” Carrigg said.

Lexington County increased its emergency services and law enforcement spending to $108.2 million in 2023, expanding its fire services. And for 2024, the council voted in its first property tax increase in a decade to cover pay hikes for county staff in an effort to address vacancies.

Despite all this, Carrigg contends that the county is still understaffed and “running on fumes.”

Columbia News

The concept of seeking buy-in from the county’s various public service providers, a process known as concurrency, is largely new to the Palmetto State, county staff told council members. Director of Community Development Robbie Derrick said a number of counties in the Lowcountry had considered concurrency but never enacted it. He found himself looking to towns in Florida when researching the topic.

“It’s a very untested regulation,” he said. “Very few folks in South Carolina have tried to do this.”

Still, the council chose to use a special provision to enact the ordinance in draft format, with plans to finalize the language and put enforcement policies and procedures in place at a later date.

Despite having no set plans for how the ordinance process would ultimately work, several council members said initial conversations they had with members of area school boards were positive.

Not everyone on the council thought it was a good idea.

Councilman Todd Cullum worried about the council abdicating its own decision-making authority and voiced concerns about not having a process to provide recourse for those who wish to develop their property.

“They can say no, and then we have a disapproved project,” he said. “We’re going to approve and put something in place that if you get turned down, you’re just put in landowner purgatory.”

Councilwoman Charli Wessinger saw it less as an abdication and more as a “courtesy” to service providers and other governing bodies.

Councilwoman Debbie Summers chimed in, raising the issue of possible economic development ramifications.

“It was stated within our meeting that we did not feel like we can handle any more stress on our basic services here in the county,” she said. “The message that we send to corporations and businesses looking to move to Lexington County, to me, that’s not a very positive message ... that we might not be able to handle their facility or their employee safety.”

Summers and Cullum were the only two to vote against the proposal.

Columbia Education

The council had previously discussed the possibility of seeking outside buy-in when it came to new apartment development, but the ordinances passed Oct. 10 expanded that to nearly all residential development.

The council could have chosen to enact the changes through its traditional ordinance process, requiring three separate votes and a hearing allowing for public comment before rules take force, but Carrigg said this special process allows the county “to push the pause button now instead of three or four months down the road.”

“It’s very difficult to make responsible changes when you’re still operating business as usual,” she said.

Carrigg expressed confidence in the county’s various department heads to make judgment calls on any development proposals that may come to the county between now and when final processes for determining a project’s viability are put into place.

Columbia Business

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correctly attribute a statement made by Lexington County Councilwoman Beth Carrigg.

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As fall approaches, COVID on the rise again in SC, Lexington County

Regardless of whether we still want to talk about it, COVID-19 is on the rise again in South Carolina and Lexington County.That’s what Dr. Jonathan Knoche, a medical consultant with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, told the Chronicle as he helped contextualize COVID numbers acquired by the paper from May through August.From May 6 to June 24, weekly hospital admissions of confirmed COVID patients — the metric now used to set warning levels for the virus from low to medium to high by the Cente...

Regardless of whether we still want to talk about it, COVID-19 is on the rise again in South Carolina and Lexington County.

That’s what Dr. Jonathan Knoche, a medical consultant with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, told the Chronicle as he helped contextualize COVID numbers acquired by the paper from May through August.

From May 6 to June 24, weekly hospital admissions of confirmed COVID patients — the metric now used to set warning levels for the virus from low to medium to high by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — mostly went down in the state, lowering from 88 to 56 by June 24.

But since then, the state has mostly seen a sharp increase, hitting 102 on July 22, 107 on July 29, 161 on Aug. 5 and 246 on Aug. 12 and 19.

“We've kind of been at a generally low level of circulation in the community, but over the course of the last month and a half or so we're starting to see the number of hospitalizations go back up and the percentage of [emergency department] visits due to COVID also increasing,” Knoche said. “For July 1, that week, the percentage of ED visits due to COVID was 0.5%. And for the week of Aug. 19, that weekly percentage of ED visits was 3%. So that's six times as many.”

He noted that the current numbers aren’t terrible — there were 793 people admitted to hospitals in the state with COVID the week of Dec. 31, 2022, he cited as an example of how bad it’s been in the past — but people should still be concerned and take caution.

The fall and the holidays have seen a pattern of spikes, so the numbers could continue to rise.

“That's why you're hearing public health professionals, physicians, people's primary care doctors really strongly recommending that people stay up to date with their vaccines,” Knoche said. “Because the time that people need it is when they're traveling, when they're getting together with their loved ones during Thanksgiving and over Christmas. Those holidays, those family gatherings and travel are when you see opportunity for these viruses to spread.”

While there are a variety of factors that are likely playing into the rise in COVID cases — recent high temperatures pushing people to congregate inside, for instance — Knoche emphasized that the expected mid-September recommendation of a new COVID vaccine that protects against the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant could be a particular help, as the virus’ mutation could be part of what is driving the increase in hospitalizations, particularly when it comes to people who are getting COVID again.

He added that typical good habits when it comes to respiratory illness also help stem the spread, including washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes and not going into school or work if you are ill.

Case numbers shared by DHEC for Lexington County and neighboring Richland County fall in line with the rise in COVID statewide.

In Lexington, there were 106 new COVID cases on May 6, with that number mostly going down each week through July 1, when the county had 58. The county has since seen sharp increases, hitting 112 on July 22, 142 on July 29, 240 on Aug. 5, 293 on Aug. 12, 400 on Aug. 19 and 608 on Aug. 26.

Richland saw much the same arc during that time, going from 148 on May 6 to 93 on June 24, and then climbing to 155 on July 22, 185 on July 29, 318 on Aug. 5, 496 on Aug. 12, 563 on Aug. 19 and 898 on Aug. 23.

Knoche cautioned that these numbers might actually be higher than what’s been reported, as the results of at-home tests often don’t make it to DHEC.

Lexington County saw a total of eight COVID deaths between May and Aug. 19, he said.

Weekly hospital admission figures from May through August weren’t immediately available, but both counties saw a spike recently.

In both counties, there were 38 new patients with confirmed COVID admitted to local hospitals in the week leading up to Aug. 12, a 65.2% increase from the previous week, before dropping slightly to 37 in the week leading up to Aug. 19.

That Aug. 12 increase is sharper than the nationwide increase during the same stretch, which was 21%, as 12,613 new confirmed COVID patients were admitted to hospitals throughout the U.S.

The hospitalization numbers are still well below the threshold to raise the county’s Hospital Admissions Level from low to medium, which is 10 admissions per 100,000 people. As of Aug. 19, the latest date for which the levels were updated, the 37 cases in the Lexington area equated to 4.8 admissions per 100,000 people.

Lexington Medical Center, the 607-bed teaching hospital in West Columbia, told the Chronicle it has seen a recent spike in COVID patients, going from a census of nine patients with the virus the week of Aug. 20 to 26 on Aug. 28.

Knoche said that while the recent rise in COVID represents a particular threat to those who are elderly or immunocompromised, getting this message through to the public can be difficult at this point.

“I think that there's a significant amount of fatigue related to hearing about COVID,” he said. “And I get it. I've also been working on this as the beginning of the pandemic, and sometimes you're tired of working on it and trying to say the same thing and message it. But it doesn't change the fact that it's still here. It doesn't change the fact that it's still harming people. And that won't change the fact that we're still going to try our best to educate people about the risks and and the way to reduce those risks by being vaccinated and practicing good health practices.”


covid-19 sc, lexington county coronavirus, midlands case rate

A look at Lexington County's 57-acre housing and retail development

According to residents, the land used to be full of trees. Now it's a construction site, and soon, a new housing and shopping development.LEXINGTON, S.C. — An area near Red Bank in Lexington is starting to look very different as developers turn a 50-acre plot of land into shopping and residential property.Austin Dunn is a physical therapist and a client director at Drayer Physical Therapy along Platt Springs Road in Lexingt...

According to residents, the land used to be full of trees. Now it's a construction site, and soon, a new housing and shopping development.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — An area near Red Bank in Lexington is starting to look very different as developers turn a 50-acre plot of land into shopping and residential property.

Austin Dunn is a physical therapist and a client director at Drayer Physical Therapy along Platt Springs Road in Lexington. He's been at the location for two years and recalls seeing a large plot of trees across the street, but he said that the landscape is changing quickly.

"We've seen the trees swaying like the Lorax, falling down. But as I've been coming to work the last few weeks, I've seen more and more clearance and now it's basically a dirt lot."

That's a similar story for Brittany Harris; she lives by the property and has seen it change shape.

"I just noticed they were clearing the area out. A lot of different work trucks and different people out there sometimes during the day. I just kinda figure that they were probably going to put another housing development over there or something," she said.

It's all part of a 50-acre development, according to the NAI Columbia commercial real estate firm.

A press release from the company said the group will be developing the area into a mixed-use area named 'Platt Springs Crossing.' The firm said it will be "bringing multiple national and regional users, along with a residential component, to a growing Lexington market."

The idea of a new place to shop or live makes Harris excited about the possibilities.

"I would definitely like to have another sit-down eatery spot. Just, you know, more family oriented where me and my family can come sometimes on the weekend and just dine in."

Dunn, a White Knoll high school graduate, claims he's seen the area take shape over decades. He's excited an increase in population could mean more business-

"Being a physical therapist, that's my main thing, is trying to help people get better. If there's any injuries or anything else going on...I can get a better opportunity to help people, then that's the main goal."

We reached out to NAI Columbia, who said they are not yet releasing information about the possible businesses or plans for the development.


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