Federal COVID funds headed to CC Health Dept.; local pharmacy closes briefly; cases keep climbing in Horry

Store closed sign greeted customers at the Walgreens in Tabor City Monday afternoon into the evening. The store re-opened Tuesday. See the story below. (Deuce Niven, TLT)

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     Columbus County Health Department will be getting federal funds to aid in its COVID-19 response, while the Walgreens in Tabor City was closed temporarily as a “team members” was evaluated during this pandemic.

     In Horry County, coronavirus cases continued to climb, though specifics were tough to measure.

     This post will cover these topics and will be updated:

  • Columbus Health Dept. slated for $306K in COVID funds
  • Walgreens closes temporarily while ‘team member’ evaluated
  • DHEC data fluctuates but Horry cases soar

Columbus Health Dept. slated for $306K in COVID funds

     Columbus County Health Department’s COVID-19 effort will be getting a $306,136 boost in federal funds soon, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday.

     That news came as DHHS data on Columbus County provided conflicting data, possibly indicated two newly confirmed coronavirus cases in the county. Columbus County Health Department is currently releasing COVID data each Monday and Thursday.

     DHHS is allocating $35 million in federal funding to local health departments to support the COVID-19, a news release said. Following federal guidelines, counties will be able to use these funds to support COVID-19 staffing, infection controls, testing and tracing, IT infrastructure and data sharing and visualization.

     “Our local health departments are critical partners with the state as we fight this virus, and this funding will help them continue and expand their important work,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.

     “Since the start of the pandemic our local health departments have been working around the clock to protect their communities and slow the spread of the virus,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “These funds continue to support their ability to address the overwhelming demands they are facing.”

     North Carolina’s local health departments are on the frontlines supporting people in getting tested for COVID-19 and knowing if they have been exposed.

     Testing and contact tracing are core public health activities and key components of North Carolina’s strategy to responsibly ease restrictions, while continuing to slow the spread COVID-19. These responsibilities are in addition to their ongoing work to promote health and prevent disease.

     Local health departments will receive a base allocation of $90,000 per county with additional funding based on population size and their cumulative positive COVID-19 caseload.

     This one-time, non-recurring funding is part of NCDHHS’ cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC), which awards annual funding to state, local and territorial health departments to support vector-borne disease surveillance and response. The coverage period runs from the beginning of the 2020 calendar year through the end of FY 2021-22.

     For information on testing and contact tracing in North Carolina visit here.

For more information about the state’s response to COVID-19, visit here.

Walgreens closes temporarily while ‘team member’ evaluated

     Walgreens in Tabor City closed abruptly Monday afternoon, and re-opened later Tuesday after a “team member who works in the store” was evaluated for COVID-19.

     “When notified of a confirmed or presumed positive COVID-19 case, we take actions meeting or exceeding recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, public health officials and other credible sources while following federal, state and local health advisories,” Walgreens Media Relations spokesman Phil Caruso said in response to an email inquiry. “Our clinical and safety teams work closely with our field and store leadership to respond accordingly, which may include identifying and contacting individuals who may be at risk in order to self-quarantine or self-monitor their health, as well as cleaning and disinfecting the location or impacted areas of the  store.

     “Cleanings may require temporarily closing a store, at which time customers may visit a nearby store location for their prescription needs.”

     Routine in matters involving personal medical information protected by federal privacy law, Caruso provided no specific information on the “team member,” their test results or condition.

DHEC data fluctuates but Horry cases soar again

     At least 86 Horry County residents are newly confirmed as infected with COVID-19, perhaps as many as 103, conflicting data from the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control showed Tuesday.

     DHEC reported 86 newly confirmed case, with a total of 1,297 county residents infected since the pandemic began. That total was 103 cases higher than what was reported Monday.

     Daily information fluctuations, DHEC has reported previously, as case-by-case investigations often finds that cases assigned initially to one location should have been listed in another county, or state.

     Zip Code data from DHEC Tuesday showed Loris and Green Sea area numbers unchanged from Monday, with 167 and 12 confirmed cases respectively.

     Statewide there have been 19,990 positive tests returned for COVID-19 in South Carolina, up by 595 from Monday; with 607 related deaths, five more than the day before.

     A total of 571 South Carolina residents were hospitalized for treatment of COVID complications on Tuesday, that number up by 35 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.