Third COVID-19 death in Horry; church in a parking lot

A friendly wave in the Grace Fellowship Church parking lot as Bishop Anthony Gerald welcomes all to the drive-up worship service Sunday. See the story below. (Deuce Niven, TLT)

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     A third death resulting from the coronavirus COVID-19 was confirmed in Horry County Sunday, as Columbus County added one to its total of confirmed cases of the disease, now at three.

     This post will be updated during the day and cover these topics:

  • Third COVID-19 death in Horry
  • Second COVID-19 death in Horry
  • Third COVID-19 in Columbus
  • Information, recommendations
  • Parking lot church

Third COVID-19 death in Horry

     A third death in Horry County from coronavirus COVID-19 was confirmed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Sunday, just a day after the second death in the county was announced.

     The death in Horry brought the state’s total number of deaths to 16.

     Another three new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Horry County Sunday, bringing the total to 31. Statewide the number of confirmed cases is 774 in 40 counties, a DHEC news release said.

Second COVID-19 death in Horry

     One of two additional deaths related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus reported late Saturday was from Horry County, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced.

     Both the Horry resident and a second from Richland County were elderly and “had underlying health conditions,” a DHEC news release said.

     “Our sincere sympathies are with the family and friends of these individuals as well as the family and friends of everyone who has lost someone to this disease,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician. “Having to report two additional deaths today is a critical reminder of how serious this situation is and how we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.”

     Four new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Horry on Saturday, bringing the total to at least 28. Statewide 12 new cases were reported as a state laboratory worked through a backlog of cases.

Third COVID-19 in Columbus

     A third case of the coronavirus COVID-19 has been confirmed in Columbus County, the Columbus County Health Department reported Sunday morning.

     “The positive individual traveled from a known COVID-19 hotspot in another state and is requiring a stay at Columbus Regional,” the news release said. “This individual is not connected with the first two cases, which were reported yesterday.

     “The Columbus County Health Department will follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection. Based on information provided by the individual, county public health officials will assess risks of exposure, and determine which, if any, additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.”

Information, recommendations

     Daily updates on the number of COVID-19 tests performed and the number of positive cases in the county will be available on the health department’s Facebook page and shared with local and regional media outlets.

     Health Department officials “would like to remind everyone of the recommended measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which are:

  • “Social distancing (e.g. avoiding crowds, self-quarantining, etc.)
  • “Washing hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time
  • “Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • “Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • “Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw it away, and then wash your hands
  • “Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • “Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched”

     Visit the Columbus County Health Department Facebook page here for accurate and current information regarding COVID-19 and Columbus County.

     A call center for more information is open at the Columbus County Health Department at 910-640-6615 ext. 7045 or 7046. Call center hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

     For the most recent updates from Columbus Regional, please continue monitoring the website here and Facebook page here.

Deacon Gene Dewitt offers prayer at Grace Fellowship Church appearing over the bed of a pick-up truck in the parking lot Sunday morning. (Deuce Niven, TLT)

Parking lot church

     Keeping physical distance, while socially connecting, Bishop Anthony Gerald lead an abbreviated service in the parking lot of Grace Fellowship Church in Tabor City Sunday morning.

     His congregation was small, fewer than ten vehicles, but his message was one of hope in trying times.

     “If you are within the sound of my voice, we’re having church,” Gerald said.

     Before Elder Gene Dewitt offered a prayer, Bishop Gerald said prayers of gratitude should include healthcare workers, those in public safety roles, and others on the front line of the COVID-19 fight.

     “Those are altruistic people who put others first,” Gerald said.

     Gerald called the community to be united.

     “This is not a blame game,” Gerald said. “We are all in this together. This coronavirus is real, it is. And it is a trick from the enemy.”

     Gerald said everyone should heed health warnings, trusting that God can heal, adding that testing God with the virus is much like getting too close to a snake.

     “The snake will bite,” Gerald said. “That’s its nature.”

     In worship, Gerald said “You can always go to the rock,” and that “We’ve got the victory. We’ve got to understand who God is. He’s omnipresent, he’s omnipotent.

     Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.