Just one new COVID case in Columbus, ten more in Horry as judge blocks church guidance in NC

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     Just one additional individual has tested positive for COVID-19 in Columbus County, ten more in Horry, health officials said on the same day that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s order prohibiting most in-building church services was overturned by a federal judge

     This post will cover these topics and will be updated:

  • Just one new COVID case in Columbus
  • Horry cases up by 10, two in Loris area, one in Green Sea
  • Federal judge blocks Gov. Cooper’s church guidance

Just one new COVID case in Columbus

     One resident of Columbus County has tested positive for COVID-19, the county’s health department reported Saturday, bringing the Columbus total to 239.

     “The new case is connected to positive family members living in the same household,” a health department news release said.”

     There have been 18 COVID-19 related deaths in the county, the most recent reported Friday.

     By Zip Code: Changes in Columbus County’s numbers posted to the DHHS dashboard Saturday appeared to reflect data for two days. There were no changes to those numbers between Thursday and Friday.

     One additional death was recorded in the Tabor City Zip Code, that total now six, while the number of confirmed cases in the Tabor City area dropped from 68 to 67, typically an indication that the state’s verification process determined that a death was incorrectly assigned to an area.

     Other changes in the Zip Code data related to the number of people confirmed COVID-19 infected include: Whiteville rose by one to 63, Chadbourn rose by three to 40, Bolton rose by one to 9, and Lake Waccamaw dropped by one to 23.

     Precautions: As case counts continue to rise in Columbus County, the health department has almost daily issued pleas to the pubic “to take the necessary measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19.”

     Those steps recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, include:

  • 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

     NC TOTALS: Statewide there are 17,982 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 99 North Carolina counties Saturday, up by 853 from Friday, the DHHS reported. There were 652 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Saturday, 11 more than Friday; with 481 current hospitalizations, that number down by 11 from the day before.

     CC Health Updates: 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 cases up by 10, two in Loris area, one in Green Sea

     Ten more people in Horry County have been confirmed with COVID-19, two apparently from the Loris area, one from the Green Sea area, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Saturday.

     With the latest report Horry County has recorded 293 people testing positive for the disease since the pandemic began and 18 deaths.

     Zip Code data shows 34 cases from the Loris area, two more than from Friday; and three from Green Sea, one more than Friday.

     Statewide there have been 8,861 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 276 from Friday; with 380 related deaths, that number unchanged from Friday.

Federal judge blocks Gov. Cooper’s church guidance

     U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III on Saturday temporarily blocked enforcement of Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order limiting gatherings to no more than ten people, including churches, in advance of a May 29 hearing on the merits of the lawsuit filed by two Baptist churches, a minister and a Christian revival group.

     Through spokesperson Ford Porter, Gov. Cooper echoed comments he made during a Thursday news conference, his tone non-confrontational, urging religious leaders of all faiths to listen to public health officials who say it is more risky to gather inside, where social distancing is more difficult, for the length of time religious services take.

     “We don’t want indoor meetings to become hotspots for the virus and our health experts continue to warn that large groups sitting together inside for long periods of time are much more likely to cause the spread of COVID-19,” Porter’s news release said. “While our office disagrees with the decision, we will not appeal, but instead urge houses of worship and their leaders to voluntarily follow public health guidance to keep their members safe.”

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.