COVID hits Tabor Commons hard; 21st death in Columbus; seven new cases in Horry

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     COVID-19 has left few corners of the region untouched, but had taken a particularly brutal toll at Tabor Commons Assisted Living, where nine residents have died of coronavirus complications.

     Columbus County recorded its 21st pandemic death on Tuesday, while Horry County reported seven residents newly testing positive for the disease.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Coronavirus hits Tabor Commons hard, nine have died
  • 21st COVID death in Columbus, nine new cases
  • Horry records seven newly infected citizens

Coronavirus hits Tabor Commons hard, nine have died

     No single location in the Tabor-Loris Community, and apparently in Columbus County and much of Horry, has been hit harder by COVID-19 than Tabor Commons Assisted Living, the latest data from North Carolina’s Department of Health & Human Services shows.

     Nine residents have died of coronavirus complications, the DHHS reported Tuesday, a total of 50 residents have tested positive for the disease, with five staff members.

     RenCare Solutions President Lauren Reavis Ware last month said staff there had done all they could to keep the disease out, and the facility had no confirmed cases until late April.

     Two staff members who had never shown symptoms tested positive for the disease after two residents, initially, began to get sick.

     Quickly everyone inside was tested, residents and staff, and the numbers exploded with 38 residents testing positive by May 1.

     Another dozen have tested positive since. Some, perhaps all of those, were infected before the outbreak was recognized, and before the facility began to segregate those known to be infected from those who had tested negative, Ware said in a May 13 update posted on the facilities Facebook page.

     “We are working hard to limit any further exposures and to follow CDC guidance on protective measures within our community,” Ware wrote in the May 13 post, her most recent. “We also are continuing to work closely with Columbus County Public Health to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

    Losses: Five residents had died at the time of Ware’s May 13 post, her most recent, four more since then.

     “We have suffered several losses and we have felt each one acutely,” Ware wrote. “Our hearts go out to those families and friends that have lost loved ones – we will be thinking about them all and hoping for peace in the days to come.

     “We too have been dealing with those losses. We will cherish their memories and miss them greatly. Please join us in praying for their families and loved ones.

     “We also have residents in the hospital that are in need of prayers for healing. We are hopeful they will make full recoveries and be back with us soon.”

     Humbled: “We have been so humbled by the kindness and words of encouragement from the people in our greater community,” Ware wrote. “This has been a very tough time for our residents, their loved ones, and our staff – Please keep those positive vibes and prayers coming as they are much appreciated.”

     Congregate facilities: At Loris Rehab and Nursing Care a second resident has died, and the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19 nearly tripled between Friday and Tuesday, state Department of Health and Environmental Control data shows.

     A total of 19 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Tuesday data shows, that number up from seven on Friday, when the DHEC report showed that one resident had died.

     Four Loris Rehab staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.

     In Columbus County, two residents of Liberty Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Whiteville have died of COVID-19 complications, 12 residents and two staff members have been confirmed with the disease, Tuesday’s DHHS data shows, that number unchanged from Friday.

     At Premier Living & Rehab Center in Lake Waccamaw four residents have died, 19 residents and eight staff members have tested positive for the disease. One of the residents shown as testing positive Tuesday was new from Friday’s data.

21st COVID death in Columbus, nine new cases

     Another Columbus County resident, the 21st, has died of complications from COVID-19, the county’s health department reported Tuesday. An additional nine residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing that total to 259.

     “The individual passed away on May 18 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 these individuals will be released. We offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to all of the individuals’ family and friends in this very difficult time.”

     Of the nine newly confirmed infected persons three “are connected to a positive family member, one case is work-related, three cases are still under investigation, and the source of infection could not be found for the other three cases,” the health department reported.

     By Zip Code: Tabor City’s Zip Code has recorded nine COVID related deaths and 71 residents with coronavirus infections, state DHHS dashboard data showed Tuesday, both categories three higher than Monday and more than any other area in the county.

     Tabor Commons assisted has also recorded nine COVID deaths, with 50 infections, DHHS data released Tuesday showed. Because the timing may be different on when that data is collected by the state agency, it was not certain Tuesday if every death in the Tabor City Zip Code was a Tabor Commons resident.

     Whiteville’s Zip Code recorded three new COVID infections Tuesday, that total now 68, while Cerro Gordo and Chadbourn each increased by one confirmed case, those totals now 11 and 44 respectively.

     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: Avery County reported its first COVID-19 case Monday, the last of North Carolina’s 100 counties to confirm an infection among its residents.

     Statewide there are 19,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 99 North Carolina counties Tuesday, up by 677 from Monday, the DHHS reported. There were 691 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Tuesday, 30 more than Monday; with 585 current hospitalizations, that number up by 74 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 records seven newly infected citizens

     Seven additional residents of Horry County have tested positive for COVID-19, one apparently from the Loris area, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Tuesday.

     With the latest report Horry County has recorded 303 people testing positive for the disease since the pandemic began, and 19 deaths.

     Zip Code data shows 36 cases from the Loris area, one more than Monday, and three from Green Sea, unchanged from Monday.

     Statewide there have been 9,056 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 137 from Monday; with 399 related deaths, that number up by eight from Monday.

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.