By DEUCE NIVEN
Columbus and Horry counties each recorded a COVID-19 related death among its residents Monday, with confirmed case totals climbing slightly in both.
Elsewhere North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a pair of pandemic relief bills into law while extending a number of DMV renewal deadlines in the state.
This post will cover these topics and may be updated:
- Eleventh COVID death, three new cases in Columbus
- Horry records 18th death, four more coronavirus cases
- Governor signs two NC COVID bills, law extends DMV deadlines
Eleventh COVID death, three new cases in Columbus
COVID-19 has claimed another resident of Columbus County, the eleventh since the current pandemic began, the Columbus County Health Department reported Monday.
“The individual passed away on the night of May 3 while hospitalized,” 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 three county residents have been confirmed with COVID-19, the health department reported, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Columbus to 170.
“Two of the new cases are connected with congregate living facilities in Columbus County and one case is still under investigation,” the news release said. “All three of the new cases have been hospitalized.”
“With the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continuing to rise in Columbus County, we are BEGGING the public to take the necessary measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19,” the news release said. “The Columbus County Health Department would like to remind everyone of the recommended measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which are:
- Social distancing (e.g. avoiding crowds, self-quarantining, no mass gatherings, only going out in public when necessary)
- 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
Statewide there are 11,848 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 184 North Carolina counties Monday, up by 155 from Sunday, the NC Department of Health and Human Services reported. There were 430 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Monday, eight more than Sunday; with 498 current hospitalizations, that number up by 23 from the day before.
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.
Horry records 18th death, four more coronavirus cases
Another death from COVID-19 complications in Horry County was reported by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control Monday, the second day in a row, with four more people in the county also confirmed as infected.
With the latest report Horry County has recorded 18 COVID deaths 230 people testing positive for the disease since the pandemic began.
Two of the three people newly confirmed with the coronavirus live in the Loris Zip Code, DHEC data shows, bringing the Loris area total of cases to 20. One COVID-19 case in the Green Sea Zip Code is not now.
Statewide there have been 6,757 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 135 from Sunday; with 283 related deaths, that number up by 8 from Sunday.
Governor signs two NC COVID bills, law extends DMV deadlines
North Carolina Senate and House bills Gov. Roy Cooper described as “critical relief bills that will provide assistance to families, schools, hospitals and small businesses as our state battles COVID-19,” were signed into law by the governor, with bi-partisan general assembly leaders in attendance, during a livestreamed news conference Monday morning.
Everyone involved noted that the bills enjoyed bipartisan support, and were passed unanimously both in the state Senate and House of Representatives.
“Bipartisan work shows us what we can do when we put people above politics,” Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue said during the news conference, adding that he was hopeful that level of cooperation would continue as the state faces the fallout of the pandemic.
Also attending were House Speaker Tim Moore, Democratic House Leader Darren Jackson, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.
“The General Assembly crafted a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package that puts North Carolina on the right path to recovery,” Sen. Berger said. “Governor Cooper’s signature on these bills sends a signal to our citizens that our state is moving past this crisis and that action is being taken to address their concerns.”
The relief package includes almost $1.6 billion in relief measures for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations. Of this amount, $1.4 billion has been appropriated and $150 million is set aside in a reserve fund for future local government needs.
Senate Bill 704 contains provisions to help North Carolinians facing deadlines for driver license and license plate renewals, public school challenges, and more to include:
- An extension of driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines
- Waives interest on tax payments normally due in April
- Modifies end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools
- Adjusts the 2020-21 K-12 public school calendar
- Allows pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed
House Bill 1043 is the spending package. It allocates federal funding sent to the state from the CARES Act and includes:
- $50 million to provide personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies
- $25 million to support enhanced COVID-19 testing and tracing
- $125 million in small business loans administered through the Golden LEAF Foundation
- $50 million in health support for underserved communities including rural areas and minority communities
- $95 million to support North Carolina hospitals
- $20 million to support local health departments and the State Health Lab
- $75 million for school nutrition programs
- $70 million for summer learning programs
- $30 million for local schools to purchase computers and other devices for students
- $6 million for food banks
- $9 million for rural broadband
- $85 million for vaccine development, antibody testing, community testing, and other COVID-19-related research at Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, Campbell University, and Wake Forest University.
Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.