DHEC Says Horry County Has 126 New COVID-19 Cases | Covid-19 coverage

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The HC Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 126 new cases of COVID-19 in Horry County on Thursday, bringing our local cumulative total to 2,495 with 42 deaths.

Statewide, there were 1,106 new cases and eight other deaths, none in Horry County. This brings the state’s COVID-19 total to 28,962 with 691 deaths.

Of the 6,536 tests performed yesterday – not counting the antibody tests, 16.9% came back positive.

The state’s hospital capacity was just over 75% and Horry County hospital capacity was 84%. Of the 7,842 hospital beds in use across the state, 881 beds housed patients who have tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

The growing percentage of tests coming back positive and the increase in the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 is evidence of deep and wide community spread. For comparison, South Carolina’s percentage of positive tests on June 1 was less than 10% and only 450 people were hospitalized for the viral illness.

DHEC officials blamed the rising number of cases, as well as the downward trend in the age of new COVID-19 patients, on lax adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.

State epidemiologist Dr Linda Bell expressed support for a statewide mask requirement on Wednesday, adding that waiting for individual jurisdictions to pass an order wouldn’t do the job quickly enough. . She said the state was “going in the wrong direction”.

Local municipalities like Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach have already started researching mask ordinances, and Greenville and Columbia have both passed mandatory mask ordinances for certain stores.

Since the virus currently has no vaccine or cure, its spread depends entirely on whether or not residents follow basic guidelines such as wearing a mask in public to protect those around them and practicing social distancing. Masks that cover the mouth and nose prevent people wearing masks from spreading COVID-19, but do not necessarily protect them from contracting it, so masks are only effective if everyone is wearing them.

Masks and social distancing are absolutely essential in preventing the spread of disease and saving lives, as around 40% of COVID-19 transmission occurs in the days before symptoms appear – a period that can last for several. days or up to two weeks – if symptoms appear at all.

This means that healthy people who feel well but do not wear a mask or take other basic precautions recommended by the CDC and DHEC will continue to spread the disease to other more susceptible populations such as seniors who are much more likely to die from COVID-19 if they get it.

This is why DHEC and public health experts say that wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing, avoiding large public gatherings and practicing good hygiene are absolutely and undeniably essential to saving the lives of the citizens of South Carolina. and slow the spread of the virus.

As the percentage of tests that come back positive increases, DHEC is doing more tests to keep pace. The agency said it was increasing its testing target from 110,000 people per month to 140,000 per month for June, July and August, and 165,000 people per month for the rest of the year.

The next big test, even in Horry County, is Friday at 10:00 a.m. at Coastal Carolina University. Tidelands Health is hosting the event and will have enough test kits for 2,500 people. No preselection is required and the event will last while supplies last.

Click here for a list of all scheduled mobile testing clinics statewide.

The spread of the virus has prompted elected officials in other states to warn residents against visiting Myrtle Beach. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut now require visitors to South Carolina to be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival in their states.

On Thursday, the US Travel Association released a statement criticizing travel restrictions as bad for the economy, and instead called for safe travel practices and the wearing of masks.

Karen Riordan, CEO of the Myrtle Beach area chamber of commerce, continued with a statement in agreement with the travel association.

“As cases of the virus continue to grow across the country, the focus should not be on individual cities or states, but rather on educating citizens on how to travel responsibly to protect themselves. and protect others, ”Riordan said. “It is the responsibility of each individual to take the necessary precautions when venturing out of home or traveling, such as social distancing, wearing masks and disinfection.

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