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Horry School’s food program shelved by COVID-19 cases; other pandemic news

Town crew cleans up an East 5th Street property i 2019. The workers are doing cosmetic work, as they can, in the absence of inmate labor due to the COVID-19 crisis. See the story below. (Deuce Niven, TLT)


     COVID-19’s impact spread to the Horry County Schools, suspending its grab-and-go food program for at least two weeks, the school district announced late Wednesday.

     That followed confirmation of three new COVID-19 cases from the Columbus County Health Department Wednesday afternoon, as individuals and agencies continue to cope with the pandemic and its consequences.

     There were no new cases in Horry County, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control reported, with the count there dropping by one.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Horry Schools suspends grab-and-go meal program for two weeks
  • Columbus reports three more COVID-19 cases
  • No new cases in Horry, count drops by one
  • Town adjusts to COVID closings, lack of inmate labor

Horry Schools suspends grab-and-go meals

     Positive COVID-19 tests among Horry County Schools employees in three attendance areas have prompted the school district to suspend its grab-and-go meal program for two weeks, effective Thursday, the district announced late Wednesday afternoon.

     Those positive COVID findings in the Conway, North Myrtle Beach and Socastee had an impact “Multiple employees working in the meal program have had to self-quarantine as a result of their direct contact with individuals who received positive test results either last week or today,” the school district news release said.

     “Consequently,” the news release said, “the district will suspend the operation of all 13 grab-and-go meal sites and all bus meal pick-up locations for the next two weeks effective April 16.

     “We will assess our meal program following the two-week suspension of service. Parents are asked to monitor the district’s website and social media concerning notifications of when, or if, meal service can resume during this public health emergency.

     “Words cannot express adequately our gratitude to all of our HCS employees who have served our students as a part of the district’s meal program since March 16th. As of today, their efforts and dedication have enabled us to serve 166,072 meals to HCS students.

Columbus reports three more COVID-19 cases

     Three newly confirmed cases in Columbus County Wednesday brings the total to 40. Its first two cases were confirmed on March 18.

     “Investigation found that all three of the new cases are connected to previous confirmed cases; they are all recovering without hospitalization,” a news release from the Columbus County Health Department said. “The Columbus County Health Department will continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection. Based on information provided by the individuals, 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.”

     Six of the 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Columbus County have recovered, one person from the county died in a Fayetteville hospital.

     “We are urging the public to take the necessary measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19,” the health department said. “The only way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 is social distancing; there is no vaccination.

     Statewide North Carolina has reported 5,123 confirmed cases in 93 counties with 117 deaths.

     Regularly updated information from the Columbus County Health Department is available on its Facebook page here.

     Columbus County Health Department’s COVID-19 Call Center is also operating from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Call 910-640-6615 ext. 7045 or 7046.

No new cases in Horry, count drops by one

     There were no new COVID-19 case confirmations for Horry County on Wednesday, with the count of confirmed cases falling from 151 to 150 after an investigation determined that one person previously confirmed with the disease was a resident of another county, DHEC reported.

     A Zip Code breakdown showed seven cases in the Loris area, and one case in the Green Sea Zip Code, unchanged this week.

     Statewide there are 3,656 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, on Wednesday, up by 105 from Tuesday, with ten new deaths bringing that total to 107.

Town adjusts to COVID closings, lack of inmate labor

     COVID-19 has made a difference in the routine of town government, much like that of many impacted by business closings, stay at home orders, and other efforts designed to stem the spread of the virus, Tabor City Town Manager Al Leonard said Tuesday.

     A group of workers that is missed, Leonard said, are inmates from the minimum security section at Tabor Correctional Institution who have been doing some very visible work as part of the state’s inmate work program.

     “There were certain things that the inmates could do,” Leonard said. “Pick up litter, mowing, making things look better like painting. They can’t fix a water leak or repair a sewer line, but the nice visible things that we’re not able to get them to do are missed.

     Public Works employees do some of that work, when there is time, but repairs to the town’s water and sewer systems, and other maintenance needs, are first in line for their attention.

     “We’re looking forward to having them back,” Leonard said.

     Just when that will be, no one knows yet.

     Town Hall has been closed to the public for weeks now, with utility bills either paid by phone, or dropped into a drop-box outside.

     “It’s strange not to have interaction with the public,” Leonard said. “We miss seeing those folks come in.”

     In normal times most utility payments arrive by mail, then in-person payments, credit card payments last.

     With in-person payments inside Town Hall out of bounds, for now, the drop box has seen a significant increase, with a lesser rise in the number of folks calling town hall to pay by credit card.

     Tabor City has no on-line mechanism for paying utility bills, Leonard said Tuesday, with a warning after being told of a website that purports to take those payments.

     “We have no method for on-line payments,” Leonard said. “That website is not legitimate.”

     Leonard said that website information will be given to the Tabor City Police Department for investigation.


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