Two COVID deaths in Horry, another in Columbus, as case counts climb; Columbus to open county offices to the public

A racial breakdown of those confirmed infected by COVID-19 in Columbus County. See the story, more charts below.

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     New COVID-19 deaths, two in Horry County, one in Columbus, came as those counties reported 19 residents newly testing positive for the coronavirus on Monday.

     Columbus County government, meanwhile, is making plans to reopen offices to the public beginning Monday.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • 25th COVID death in Columbus, five new cases
  • Two deaths bring Horry coronavirus toll to 24. 10 new cases
  • Columbus offices to reopen to the public Monday

25th COVID death in Columbus, nine new cases

     COVID-19 claimed its 25th Columbus County resident on Tuesday, the county Health Department reported Wednesday, with nine residents also newly confirmed as infected with the coronavirus, bringing that total to 315..

     Noting that the individual died at home, a health department news release said further details would be withheld to protect the families’ privacy.

     “We offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to all of the individuals’ family and friends in this very difficult time,” the news release said.

     Of the nine latest to test positive for COVID-19, five “are to positive family members, two of the cases are healthcare workers, one case is connected to a congregate living facility in Columbus County, and one is still under investigation,” the health department reported.

     Demographic data: Break-downs by age, race and gender of 306 residents confirmed with COVID-19, the total Tuesday, was released by the health department Wednesday, showing generally that those older than 65, women, and adjusting for the population blacks are more likely to be infected, but that no group has been spared.

     White residents account for 166 cases, Black of African American 128, but their percentage of the population is much smaller.

     Those 65 and older make up 80 of the 306 cases, 55 to 64 65 cases. Those numbers decline as the age gets younger, with an exception of birth to 17 with 18 cases, 18 to 24 17 cases.

     Women make up 175 of those cases, men 131.

     By Zip Code: Chadbourn recorded an additional COVID related death, its fifth, the DHHS dashboard showed Wednesday, while Whiteville posted two newly identified infected people, the total 80, Fair Bluff and Chadbourn each added a case, their totals now 56 and 18 respectively. Two other Zip Codes recorded single new cases, Delco its second, Evergreen’s sixth, while the Clarendon total was reduced from eight to seven, likely because investigation revealed an infected person’s address had been misclassified.

     Prevention: “With the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continuing to rise in Columbus County, we are asking the public to take the necessary measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19,” the health department news release said.

     Recommended measures 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 24,628 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 100 North Carolina counties Wednesday, up by 488 from Tuesday, the DHHS reported. There were 794 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Wednesday, 28 more than Tuesday; with 702 current hospitalizations, that number up by 75 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.

     Two deaths bring Horry coronavirus toll to 24. 10 new cases

     Two more Horry County residents have been claimed by COVID-19, bringing that grim total to 24, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Wednesday.

     Both deaths involved elderly people, DHEC reported.

     Horry County also recorded ten more residents infected with the coronavirus, half apparently in the Loris Zip Code, 392 now the county total since the beginning of the pandemic.

     Zip Code data reported by DHEC showed the Loris area with 77 confirmed COVID cases, five more than Tuesday, Green Sea with five, unchanged from recent days.

     Statewide there have been 10,623 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 207 from Tuesday; with 466 related deaths, that number up by 20 from Tuesday.

Columbus offices to reopen to the public Monday

     It’s going to be back to a new normal kind of business for Columbus County government offices starting Monday, County Manager Mike Stephens said Tuesday.

There may be some employees unhappy with the decision, Stephens said after receiving an anonymous e-mail from “Angry Employee” that was also sent to six of the seven county commissioners and several news outlets.

“We’ve got to start opening up and getting back to business,” Stephens said. “We’re going to do it in a safe manner.”

Department managers will set standards on how many people will be allowed inside at one time in order to make sure social distancing guidelines are followed, and the wearing of masks will be encouraged, Stephens said.

County Commissioners Chairman Edwin Russ said the decision to reopen was “a hard question” but that the public needs access to their government.

“People have got to get in the tax office and get land deed records,” Russ said. “We won’t let so many in at a time, and we will have them wear masks.”

Stephens said the decision on when to reopen was his, and not influenced by any commissioner or anyone else.

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.