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COVID cases jump in Horry, slow in Columbus, as Loris welcomes businesses back

Loris Chamber of Commerce President John Sedlak, Mayor Todd Harrelson and Miss Loris Bog-Off Festival Logan Knutson cut the ribbon during Friday’s business re-opening program. See the story below. (Jenn Causey, TLT)

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     COVID-19’s toll in Horry County and in Horry County has seen significant increases in recent days, the county reporting its biggest day total of new infections Friday as a nursing home in Loris recorded new deaths and cases.

     In Columbus County, with a much higher per-capita COVID death and case count than Horry, the trend seems more positive.

Meanwhile, in Loris, a ceremony was held marking the reopening of businesses closed by the pandemic.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • A death and biggest jump yet in Horry COVID-19 cases
  • Three more die at Loris Rehab, more cases
  • Columbus Zip Code data shows four new cases
  • After pandemic closings, a ribbon cutting

A death and biggest jump yet in Horry COVID-19 cases

     A 29th Horry County resident has been claimed by COVID-19, and the county has 30 more residents who have tested positive for the disease, the biggest single-day jump since the pandemic began, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Friday.

     Three of the newly confirmed cases is from the Loris Zip Code, DHEC data showed. Green Sea’s case count held at nine in Friday’s data.

     Overall Horry County has recorded 536 COVID cases.

     Statewide there have been 13,453 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 447 from Thursday; with 538 related deaths, up by 13 from Thursday.

Three more die at Loris Rehab, more cases

     COVID-19 complications have claimed three residents at Loris Rehab and Nursing Center since Tuesday, the total now eight, a twice-weekly DHEC report showed Friday.

     Residents and staff members infected with the coronavirus have risen, too. Three more residents testing positive for the disease since Tuesday brings that total to 50, with four additional staff members bringing that total to 21.

     Testing of every resident and employee at the Wilson Senior Care owned facility was completed on May 18, a recent corporate statement in response to the COVID-19 outbreak said.

     “We will continue doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus within our facility,” the statement said. “Most of our skilled nursing centers have remained free of any confirmed COVID-19 cases. However, the highly contagious nature of this virus has made total containment a virtual impossibility.

     “Any active cases of COVID-19 are transitioned to our Isolation Units where dedicated staff members equipped with full personal protective equipment provide care.”

     Employees who test positive for the coronavirus “will not return to work until cleared by their health care provider,” Wilson Senior Care Director of Communication Dianne Dennis said.

     Loris Rehab leadership and staff  have worked closely with local, state and federal health officials and taken all recommended precautions to prevent outbreak and spread of the disease, Dennis said.

     “Our leadership team continues to remain vigilant during this time,” Dennis said. “Our staff and residents continue to follow the recommended preventative guidelines and current restrictions will remain in place until the virus has been eradicated.

     “We have an incredible group of staff in each of our facilities who are working daily on the front lines. They deserve our praise as they are the true heroes of this pandemic. They strive daily to take the necessary steps to follow the infection control practices preventing the spread of this virus to our residents. We will continue to keep, the health and safety of our resident’s our main priority.

     “We ask for the continued support of the families, volunteers and the community as we continue to restrict visitations in our nursing facilities. The senior population that we serve is most vulnerable and at-risk of COVID-19.

     “Wilson Senior Care realizes that this is a difficult time for families, therefore, we encourage them to contact the Social Service Director in their facility to set up a visit to Skype and/or FaceTime their loved ones.”

Columbus Zip Code data shows four new COVID cases

     Four Columbus County resident, two each from the Whiteville and Hallsboro Zip Codes, have tested positive for COVID-19, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Resources reported on its online dashboard Friday.

     Daily COVID reports from the Columbus County Health Department ended Thursday, with updates now scheduled each Tuesday and Thursday.

     DHHS Dashboard data and totals from the health department frequently due to timing differences in reporting. While the DHHS Zip Code data showed four new cases, it showed the county total at 355, just one more than the health department reported on Thursday.

     A total of 27 county residents have died from COVID complications since the pandemic began.

     NC Totals: Statewide there are 33,255 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 100 North Carolina counties Friday, up by 1,289 from Thursday, the DHHS reported.

     There were 966 North Carolina deaths attributed to COVID-19 Friday, Six more than Thursday; with 717 current hospitalizations, that number up by 58 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.

After pandemic closings, a ribbon cutting

     It’s back to business with a hearty welcome from the City of Loris, the local Chamber of Commerce and Jack Murphy’s Down at the Barbershop broadcast.

     A ribbon-cutting launching the “re-grand opening” event Friday was designed to kick-start businesses now open after closing as the COVID-19 pandemic got serious in March.

     A good crowd witnessed the ribbon cutting, held at the Big Bam Boom stage behind the Loris Barbershop.

     “The chamber does a lot for businesses and the community and I felt it was important to come out today to show my support,” business owner Kenya Wright said.

     Wright opened Cotton Pickin Cute in downtown Loris a few months before the pandemic hit the community, forcing her to temporally close her doors. She is one of the fortunate business owners who didn’t have to permanently close her business.

     Live music, beverages, ice cream truck and local politicians were part of the ribbon cutting ceremony event.

     Mayor Todd Harrelson and Chamber President John Sedlak welcomed the crowd, the mayor cutting the official ribbon with Loris Bog-Off Festival Queen Logan Knutson also at his side. – Jenn Causey

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.