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Four COVID deaths reported in Columbus nursing homes as state releases new data; eighth death in CC as more cases linked to ‘family gathering’


     Four people from nursing homes in Columbus County have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic, data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shows.

     That information came after an eighth COVID-19 death in Columbus County was reported by the Columbus County Health Department, with three of four newly confirmed coronavirus infections connected to a previously reported “large family gathering.”

     Elsewhere seven additional people in Horry County have been confirmed with COVID-19.

This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Four deaths, 38 COVID infections in CC congregate care settings
  • Eighth COVID death in Columbus, three of four new cases linked to ‘family gathering’
  • Seven more coronavirus confirmations in Horry
  • Zip Code notifications coming in NC

Four deaths, 38 COVID infections in CC congregate care settings

     Three residents of Premier Living & Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw have died of complications of COVID-19, another from Liberty Commons Nursing and Rehab Center in Whiteville has also succumbed to the disease, information from the state’s DHHS dashboard showed Monday.

     Until Monday the DHHS had declined to report information specific to congregate care settings across the state, which includes nursing homes, rest homes, assisted living facilities, and prisons.

     DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cowan, during a news briefing Monday, said the policy change was the result of ongoing reviews of all practices related to the state’s pandemic response, and that her agency has been focused on “striking a balance” between providing accurate information and patient privacy concerns.

     That change also came as news organizations threatened a lawsuit over the policy. See the related story below.

     Tabor Commons Assisted Living in Tabor City has four residents with confirmed COVID-19 tests, the DHHS dashboard showed, and no death.

     Premier Living has had 22 patients with positive test results, Liberty Commons with 12.

     State and federal prison testing and results are also included on the DHHS dashboard, with no positive tests reported from the two state facilities in Columbus County.

     Tabor Correctional Institution reported that 15 tests were provided for inmates, all 15 with negative results. At Columbus Correctional Institution at Brunswick one inmate has been tested, with a negative result reported.

     DHHS dashboard information on congregate care facilities will be updated on Tuesday and Friday of each week, beginning this Friday, the DHHS reported.

Eighth COVID death in Columbus, three of four new cases linked to ‘family gathering’

     Deaths and newly confirmed COVID-19 infections in Columbus County have seen a steady climb in recent days, the county reporting an eighth death and four new people with positive tests Monday.

     “The individual passed away on the evening of April 26 at their place of residence,” the health department said in a news release. “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.”

     Three of the four people confirmed with the coronavirus Monday were connected to a “large family gathering” with four infections confirmed on Thursday. With the four added Monday there have been 13 people who attended that gathering that have tested positive for the disease, including six added to that list Friday.

     None of those newly tested positive for the disease have been hospitalized, the health department reported.

     To date 94 people in Columbus County have tested positive for COVID-19.

     “We are BEGGING the public to take the necessary measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19,” the health department repeated in its Monday news release. “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 9,142 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 95 North Carolina counties Monday, the NC Department of Health and Human Services reported. There were 306 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Monday, seven more than Sunday; with 473 current hospitalizations.

     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.

Seven more coronavirus confirmations in Horry

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

     One of those new cases was in the Loris Zip Code, bringing the total there to 17. DHEC reported one confirmed case in the Green Sea Zip Code, with no change there is recent days.

     With 203 confirmed cases reported Sunday, the county total should be 210, but DHEC showed that number Monday at 209. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.

     Statewide there have been 5,613 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 142 from Sunday. Three additional deaths in the state reported Monday brings that total to 177.

     Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday extended his State of Emergency order for 15 days. State law only allows those declarations for up to 15 days, and the first order McMaster issued involving the pandemic was due to expire Monday.

 Zip Code notifications coming in NC

     More location specific information on confirmed COVID-19 infections in Columbus County will be “in the coming days,” the Columbus County Health Department reported Monday.

     State Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) leaders have notified the county “that they will begin releasing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases by zip code (if the population is more than 500) later this week,” a county news release said.”

     In another position reversal from DHHS, the state agency said Monday that it will begin identifying congregate care facilities, including nursing homes, rest homes and other facilities, where residents have tested positive for the coronavirus.

     That reversal came after pleas from the AARP and threatened legal action from a group of newspaper and broadcast news organizations, The News & Observer in Raleigh reported.

     Columbus County Health Department, to date, has followed DHHS guidelines and not identified congregate care facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Three facilities have announced positive findings in recent weeks, including Liberty Commons in Whiteville, Premier Living in Lake Waccamaw, and just Saturday Tabor Commons in Tabor City.


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