By DEUCE NIVEN
With relatively modest numbers of new COVID-19 infected Columbus County residents coming daily, five on Thursday, the county health department is scaling back public reporting on that data.
Meanwhile, state health officials are ramping up testing and contact tracing efforts related to the coronavirus in North Carolina.
In Horry County the number of COVID cases topped 500 Thursday, a state agency reported
This post will cover these topics and may be updated:
- Columbus reports five new COVID cases
- DHHS launches testing, contact training initiatives
- Coronavirus case total tops 500 in Horry
Columbus reports five new COVID cases, moves to twice weekly updates
Another five Columbus County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to 354 since the pandemic began, the county health department reported Thursday.
A total of 161 people previously confirmed with the coronavirus have completely recovered, a Columbus County Health Department news release said.
No information on the source of the new infections was provided in the news release.
Daily reports on deaths and newly confirmed cases connected to COVID-19 end with Thursday’s news release, it said, with updates planned each Tuesday and Thursday “on the number of total cases, deaths, and recoveries.”
“In the event that there is an unprecedented increase in the number of cases or deaths due to COVID-19, the Columbus County Health Department will provide additional updates,” the news release said.
By Zip Code: Whiteville Zip Code recorded three residents newly confirmed with COVID-19, the DHHS dashboard showed Thursday, bringing the total to 91 confirmed cases with five deaths in the area.
Chadbourn and Riegelwood each recorded two additional residents testing positive for the disease, those totals now 63 and seven respectively; while Fair Bluff, Hallsboro and Lake Waccamaw each had one new case, those totals 21, 12 and 28 respectively.
NC Totals: Statewide there are 31,966 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 100 North Carolina counties Thursday, up by 1,189 from Wednesday, the DHHS reported.
There were 960 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Thursday, 21 more than Tuesday; with 659 current hospitalizations, that number down by 25 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.
DHHS launches testing, contact training initiatives
New initiatives to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing across North Carolina were announced by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Thursday.
Testing and tracing are core public health measures and key components of North Carolina’s strategy to responsibly ease restrictions, while continuing to slow the spread of the virus, the DHHS said in a news release.
New online tools will help the state’s residents to determine if they should consider being tested for COVID-19, and find nearby testing locations. That tool will also aid in monitoring symptoms for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus or been exposed to the disease.
Another new online platform integrates contact tracing efforts across the state under the COVID-19 Community Team. More than 900 local health department staff and other Community Team members have been trained on the software and many have begun using it in their ongoing contact tracing work.
“These new COVID-19 testing tools and resources help North Carolinians have the support and information they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “When more people get tested, and we all work alongside the COVID-19 Community Team to do our part with contact tracing, we can protect our loved ones and slow the spread of the virus.”
“These tools are one way we can help break down barriers to access, particularly for our historically marginalized populations, who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Dr. Cardra Burns, Senior Deputy Director, NCDHHS Division of Public Health. ”They are part of a larger effort to make sure that testing is available in trusted and accessible places for communities of color.”
New online tools: New online tools intended to help people know if they need a test, how to get a test, and how to monitor their own symptoms if advised to do so by a contact tracer include:
- Check My Symptoms here, a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
- Find My Testing Place here, a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online.
- COVID-19 Community Team Outreach (CCTO) Tool, a password-protected online software that helps people track their own symptoms if they have been advised to do so by the COVID-19 Community Team. The tool is also a platform that helps streamline and integrate contact tracing work across the state.
Answer the call: Through contact tracing, local health department staff and other COVID-19 Community Team members reach out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and connect them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones.
It is important that people answer the call when the Community Team reaches out. Individuals being contacted will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov with follow-up phone calls from their local health department or NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223).
The Community Team will never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. Any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential.
Coronavirus case total tops 500 in Horry
Another 14 Horry County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 as the county’s case total topped 500, on the same day the state count topped 13,000, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Thursday.
Two of the residents newly confirmed were from the Loris Zip Code, one from Green Sea, those totals now 104 and nine respectively, DHEC reported.
A total of 27 Horry residents have died of coronavirus complications, the most recent reported Tuesday.
Horry County’s total number of residents confirmed infected with COVID-19 rose to 506 Wednesday, with three of the newly confirmed cases in the Loris Zip Code, bringing that total to 102; the Green Sea area total unchanged at eight.
Statewide there have been 13,005 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 361 from Wednesday; with 525 related deaths, up by seven from Wednesday.
Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.