Skip to content

Fifth COVID death in Columbus, cases climb; Horry, SC schools will stay closed

Gov. Henry McMaster and Supt. of Education Molly Spearman during Wednesday’s news conference. (Source: SCETV)


     A fifth Columbus County resident has died from complications of the coronavirus COVID-19, the Columbus County Health Department reported Wednesday; while in Horry County there were three new confirmed cases, no new deaths.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Fifth COVID death in Columbus, seven more cases
  • SC Gov. & Supt.: Schools will stay closed, some kind of graduation will take place
  • Three more Horry residents test positive, one in Loris area

Fifth COVID death in Columbus, seven more cases

     Columbus County’s fifth fatality from COVID-19 died Wednesday, and like previous cases had been “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.”

     Another seven people in Columbus County have been confirmed as infected by COVID-19, the health department reported, pushing the total number of cases to 76.

     “Investigation found that six of the new cases are connected to previous positive cases – one case is still under investigation,” the health department reported. “One of the new positive cases is requiring hospitalization.

     “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 7,220 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 93 North Carolina counties, with 242 deaths, the NC Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday.

     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.

SC Gov. & Supt.: Schools will stay closed, some kind of graduation will take place

     Students will not be back in South Carolina public school classrooms this school year, Gov. Henry McMaster and Supt. of Education Molly Spearman said Wednesday.

     An executive order outlining those details will be issued next week, Gov. McMaster said. The decision, he said, “was made after much consultation with a comprehensive group of people, parents, teachers, administrators, and others.”

     School district leaders will be given “flexibility” to handle typical end-of-year activities including student assessments, parent-teacher meetings, and allowing students and staff to pick up personal belongings left in classrooms after schools were closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

     McMaster said his order “will encourage school districts and principals and teachers and all involved to find ways to have graduation ceremonies. It’s a part of American life, important for families and students who want to walk their graduation.

     “We will find ways that can be accomplished.”

     Spearman said she has heard “some very articulate begs” from seniors eager for commencement, and that school district leaders have offered “some very creative ideas. You deserve a graduation ceremony, and we want that to happen for you.”

     School feeding programs will continue through the summer, as a task force explores how to reopen schools, hopefully in August.

     More than a five million meals have been prepared and delivered to students since classrooms were closed on March 16, Spearman said.

     Both McMaster and Spearman reflected the difficulty of these times with a note of optimism.

     “It has been a burden, it’s been sad to see schools closed, but it has been a joy to see how everyone has pulled together and worked together,” Spearman said.

     To parents, Spearman said “I know this is stressful. Thank you for what you are doing.

     “Instruction is important, but the most important thing is to look out for the physical and emotional health for our families.”

Three more Horry residents test positive, one in Loris area

     Testing has confirmed three more Horry County residents have contracted COVID-19, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Wednesday.

     One of those new cases was in the Loris Zip Code, bringing that total to 13. One case has been previously listed in the Green Sea Zip Code.

     DHEC’s website showed the Horry with 190 confirmed cases as of noon Tuesday, but three additional cases added to the 189 showing a day earlier would appear to show the county with 192 positive cases.

     Statewide there have been 4,761 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 160 from Tuesday. Five additional deaths in the state reported Wednesday brings that total to 140.


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