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Fourth COVID-19 death for Columbus County Tuesday, cases grow as some Horry beaches re-open

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     A fourth death of a Columbus County resident infected with the coronavirus COVID-19 was reported by the Columbus County Health Department Tuesday evening, hours after it disclosed another eight infected people in the county and an effort to find volunteer to sew protective gowns was launched.

     Horry County reported three new individuals testing positive for the disease.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Fourth COVID-19 death in Columbus
  • Eight more with coronavirus in Columbus
  • As some beaches open, three new positive tests in Horry
  • Volunteers sought to sew gowns

Fourth COVID-19 death in Columbus

     Three of Columbus County’s four reported COVID-19 related deaths have come in the past week, on Thursday, Saturday and again Tuesday, with the first ten days before the second, on April 6.

     Like the others, the person who died Tuesday “was receiving care in a nearby hospital,” the health department reported. “The individual had several underlying medical conditions and was one of the previously identified positive cases in Columbus County.”

     Privacy concerns will prevent the health department from providing more information, the news release said.

     “We offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to all of the individuals’ family and friends in this very difficult time,” the news release said.

Eight more in Columbus test COVID-19 positive

     With eight newly confirmed cases Columbus County reports 69 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, a Columbus County Health Department news release said.

     Of the new cases three are related to individuals who have previously tested positive, one has required hospitalization, the rest “under investigation,” the health department reported.

     Not clear from the department’s report was if any of the eight are residents of Premier Living and Rehab Center at Lake Waccamaw, which revealed late Monday that 12 residents have tested positive of the disease.

     Premier Living, in a post on its Facebook page, said leadership and staff had battled hard to keep COVID-19 out, and after a month “we were beginning to think we had succeeded in defeating the adversary. Little did we know, it had already found a way in and was just waiting to rear its ugly head!”

     Confirmation of the first case came on April 10, when a resident who had required hospitalization had tested positive. Five residents with positive tests were confirmed quickly, prompting a decision to test every resident.

     Six more positive results followed.

     “We have prepared a separate wing to allow us to focus on those who have tested positive and attempt to stop the spread among all others,” the Premier Living post said. “Even so, we received notice today of our 12th positive result. This same person tested negative just five days ago.”

     “The Columbus County Health Department will continue to follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection,” the 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.

     “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.

     Preventive measures against COVID-19, recommended by the Columbus County Health Department, include:

  • Social distancing (e.g. avoiding crowds, self-quarantining)
  • Wearing a mask or face covering when in public places
  • 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

     Statewide there are 6,951 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 93 North Carolina counties, with 213 deaths, the NC Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday.

     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.

As some beaches open, three new positive tests in Horry

     At least 189 people in Horry County have been infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus, that number up by three Tuesday, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported.

     None of the newly confirmed cases were from the Loris or Green Sea Zip Codes, the DHEC report showed, those numbers at 12 and 1 respectively.

     Health leaders have consistently said there are more people carrying COVID-19 than have been proven by positive by testing, by a factor of about six. DHEC estimates that the true total of people infected by COVID-19 in Horry County ranges from 1,161 to 1,350.

     South Carolina’s total confirmed coronavirus cases hit 4,608 Monday, up by 172 from Monday, with 11 additional deaths, bringing that total to 135.

     Some beaches in Horry County saw a strong influx of people seeking some escape as a statewide ban on beach gatherings was lifted by Gov. Henry McMaster effective at noon Tuesday.

     Gov. McMaster said social distancing measures and a ban on gatherings of more than three people remain in place, and returned decisions on opening the beachfront to local governments.

     Beaches were re-opened in North Myrtle Beach, unincorporated areas of Horry County and in Surfside Beach, with Myrtle Beach – a tourist mecca where most motels, hotels and many restaurants are closed or limited to drive-through our curb-side service – opting to leave the beaches closed, for now.

Volunteers sought to sew gowns

     Personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and first responders remain in short supply nationally, across the state, and in Columbus County.

     “Gowns are extremely difficult to be found to purchase,” a news release from Columbus County government said Tuesday. “County Administration is taking action to purchase fabrics and other sewing materials. The fabric will be precut and ready to be sewn.

     “We are looking for volunteers to sew these gowns. If you are interested in assisting, please contact the Columbus County Health Department’s COVID-19 Call Center by calling 910-640-6615 ext. 7045 or 7046.”

     Call center hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Updates

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