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Columbus records second COVID-19 death, ten new cases; SC boat ramps reopen Friday, Horry cases climb by five

CRHS workers wave at a Tabor City Fire Department truck during Thursday’s tribute at the hospital in Whiteville. See the story below. (Les High photo, The News Reporter)


     Columbus County reported its second death resulting from a COVID-19 infection on Thursday, ten days after the first, and just hours after the Columbus County Health Department reported ten new cases in the county.

     Word of the death came less than two hours after Gov. Henry McMaster ordered boat ramps across South Carolina re-opened effective at noon Friday “for fishing and recreation” as five new confirmed COVID-19 cases was confirmed in Horry County.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Second COVID death in Columbus Thursday after county reports ten new cases
  • Governor opens boat landings while Horry case count climbs by five
  • Tabor Chamber providing business info
  • Public safety salutes healthcare heroes at CRHS
  • Telehealth encouraged, DHHS says in video

Second death and ten new COVID cases in Columbus

     Like the first COVID-19 death of a Columbus County resident, the second involved a person “receiving care in a nearby hospital,” a health department news release said. “The individual was one of the previously identified positive cases in Columbus County. To protect the families’ privacy, no further information about this individual will be released. We offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to all of the individuals’ family and friends in this very difficult time.”

     It was later revealed by Cape Fear Valley Healthcare that the first Columbus County death, on April 6, was from 25 to 40 years of age and had an underlying medical condition. Carolinas Home Care, a Whiteville based home health agency, disclosed that the person was a male who had worked for the agency.

     Ten new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Columbus County on Thursday represent one-fifth of the new county total, 50 confirmed cases.

     “Investigation found that five of the new cases are connected to previous positive cases and five were caused by community transmission; one of the individuals is requiring hospitalization,” a health department news release said. “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.

     Of those 50 cases, “eight individuals have recovered and two have passed away,” the health department reported.

     “We are begging the public to take the necessary measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19. The ONLY way to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 is social distancing; there is no vaccination.

     Statewide there are 5,465 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, with 131 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.

Governor opens boat landings, Horry case count climbs by five

     Re-opening boat landings to the public is a first, small step towards returning South Carolina back to normal, but takes place ahead of the expected peak of COVID-19 cases in the state in May, Gov. McMaster said.

     McMaster said that peak is expected in noon, and predicted the state will be closer to normal by the end of June. He urged the public to be patient, but that “the end is in sight.”

     “We still, insist, watch your social distancing, don’t have large gatherings,” McMaster said. “It’s too early to celebrate. We’ve got to keep the lid on ourselves, contain our enthusiasm, but we still have to get out of this. It’s going to be sooner rather than later.”

     See the governor’s revised Executive Order here.

     There were five new COVID-19 case confirmations for Horry County on Thursday, with the count of confirmed cases rising to 155 after, 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 3,931 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, on Thursday, up by 276 from Tuesday, with two new deaths bringing that total to 109.

Tabor Chamber providing business info

     Local businesses adapting to the current COVID-19 reality are getting support from the Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce, with pertinent information posted daily on the chamber’s Facebook page here.

     “We will share any info that is given to us regarding temporary changes in business hours, manner of operation to comply with social distancing, etc.,” chamber representative Cynthia Nelson said in an e-mail.

     Launched Thursday, featured businesses include Carolina Insurers, Dameron Drug, Duke Energy, and First Bank, all open but with modifications designed to enhance both staff and customer safety; Mt. Tabor Manna, closed as staff works on getting the new Mt. Tabor Coffee & Café ready to open; and Sunnyfield Equestrian Farm, the business of Chamber President Marylou Molina, with a message of encouragement to the community and those “who are working on the front lines.”

     Chamber leaders are contacting members for this information, but any greater Tabor City area business is invited to take part. To provide pertinent information contact the chamber at 910-377-3012 or

Public safety salutes healthcare heroes at CRHS

     Law enforcement, fire and EMS vehicles, 36 in all, paraded twice around Columbus Regional Healthcare System’s flagship hospital in Whiteville Thursday afternoon, a noisy siren-filled tribute to those healthcare workers on the front line facing the nation’s COVID-19 pandemic.

     Dozens of those workers stood outside as the parade went by, waves coming from, and to the vehicles. Most areas of the county were represented, including Tabor City with units from the Tabor City Fire Department and Tabor City Emergency Services.

     CRHS spokeswoman Stephanie Miller, in a Facebook video post, said the staff was grateful not only for the parade, but for the community support.

     “We thank our community for all the support that has been shown us,” Miller said. “It has truly been humbling.”

Telemedicine encouraged, DHHS says in video

     A consequence of the COVID-19 response in the Carolinas, and nationally, has been a new focus on telemedicine, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mandy Cowan said during a news briefing Thursday.

     A three-minute video on the benefits of telehealth is now available at the DHHS website here

     Dr. Cowan urged citizens to view the video, and to take advantage of telehealth options, which are covered by every insurance provider in the state and by Medicaid and Medicare.

     Not everyone has Internet, Dr. Cowan said, and some doctors are providing telehealth by providing an iPad in their parking lot, allowing patients to contact they physician from the parking lot.

     Important, Dr. Cowan said, is paying attention to your health.

     “Stay at home does not mean ignore your health,” Dr. Cowan said. “Staying healthy is always important.”

     Staying healthy also reduces the risk of serious illness or death for those who do come in contact with the COVID-19 virus, she said.

     Those without insurance, especially those who have lost coverage because they lost their job during the pandemic, can find a number of health insurance options at here.


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