Masks are not ordered, but urged ‘in the strongest, most urgent terms’

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     Gov. Henry McMaster repeatedly emphasized the need to wear face masks in public and observe social distancing guidelines but said issuing an order for South Carolina would be unenforceable during a Friday afternoon news conference.

     His comments came as South Carolina continued a disturbing trend for big numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases and hospitalizations that are beginning to strain the state’s capacities.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • SC Governor: ‘Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask.”
  • Horry’s new daily COVID count drops below 100
  • Columbus coronavirus deaths in TC, Clarendon areas

SC Governor: ‘Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask.”

     “Wear a mask, wear a mask, wear a mask,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said during a news conference Friday that focused on the increasing toll of COVID-19 on the Palmetto State.

     “This is a dangerous, deadly virus,” McMaster said. “Follow the rules. Where the mask.”

     His comments came with the backdrop of South Carolina identified as a national hotspot of the coronavirus, alarms sounding to the extent that New York and some other states have begun to require visitors from the Palmetto State quarantine for 14 days after arriving.

     South Carolina is making national and international headlines, but not in the way we would like,” SC Director of Public Health Dr. Joan Duwve said during the news conference.

     South Carolina has hit record highs in the number of new infections and residents in the hospital with COVID-19 complications, Dr. Duwve said, with those totals Friday the second highest of the pandemic.

     McMaster said he’s not planning to reverse re-opening efforts currently underway following the state’s partial shutdown, but that he’s not going to expand the re-opening yet, either.

     “I’m not lifting current restrictions until infection rate starts going down,” McMaster said.

     Getting schools open in August is a priority for the state McMaster said, which means current COVID trends need to reverse.

     “If people follow the rules, if they use that distancing and keep that distance, if they wear the mask and wash the hands, if people are careful and courteous, we’ll be able to go ahead with the plans that we’ve made,” McMaster said.

     Despite his insistence that everyone possible where masks in South Carolina, Gov. McMaster said he would not order it, calling such a dictate “unenforceable.”

Horry’s new daily COVID count drops below 100

     A one-day drop in new COVID-19 case numbers for Horry County, far from a trend, came as Gov. McMaster urged South Carolinians to wear masks to reduce spread of the disease.

     Horry County recorded 82 new COVID cases Friday, the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported, the first time since June 167 that that count fell below 100. The biggest one-day case total came June 24, with 183 new infections reported.

     None of the new COVID cases reported Friday were from the Loris or Green Sea Zip Codes.

     Statewide South Carolina has recorded 30,263 COVID confirmed cases since the pandemic began, DHEC reported Friday, an increase of 1,273 from Thursday, with 694 people across the state who have died of the disease, three more than Thursday.

     A total of 906 Palmetto State residents were reported hospitalized for coronavirus complications Friday, an increase of 25 from Thursday.

Columbus coronavirus deaths in TC, Clarendon areas

     Two COVID-19 related deaths for Columbus County were apparently in the Tabor City and Clarendon areas, Zip Code data from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services indicated Friday.

     Columbus County Health Department data is now released twice weekly, and on Thursday the agency reported two new deaths.

     Zip Code data from DHHS Friday showed the Clarendon area with its first COVID death, Tabor City with its eleventh. Tabor City also recorded one new coronavirus infection, the DHHS data showed, its total now 112.

     Statewide: North Carolina has recorded 58,818 confirmed COVID cases since the pandemic began, Friday’s DHHS data showed, that total up by 1,685 from Thursday; with 1,303 deaths, 13 more than the day before; and 892 COVID patients in the hospital, one more than Thursday.

     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.

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.