COVID testing ends at Walmart; new deaths and cases in Columbus, Horry; pandemic claims fireworks, too

Fireworks won’t be fired at South Columbus High School this Independence Day holiday, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials at the sponsoring Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce are hoping for a September make-up.

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     Federal funding has run out to support COVID-19 testing at area Walmart stores, including the one in Whiteville, while deaths and infections of the coronavirus continue to climb in the area.

     Another victim of the pandemic is the annual Independence Day fireworks held at South Columbus High School and sponsored by the Greater Tabor City Chamber of Commerce.

     Chamber leaders say they are hoping to be able to schedule the pyrotechnics in September.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Drive-up testing halted at Walmart
  • Columbus reports 39th COVID death, 28 cases since Monday
  • Two new pandemic deaths in Horry, 179 more with the virus

Drive-up testing halted at Walmart

     COVID-19 testing has halted at the Walmart in Whiteville, and at other locations, because federal funding for the effort has run dry, Columbus County Health Director Kim Smith said.

     “What we were told is that the federal funding they had has run out, and it has not been renewed,” Smith said.

     Demand for the tests has remained steady, Smith said.

     Surprisingly, Smith said, only 4 of the more than 180 COVID tests administered at the Walmart in Whiteville returned positive results, perhaps indicating most who sought tests there were worried, but did not have symptoms or an exposure to someone known to have contracted the virus.

     Overall testing in Columbus County during the pandemic has shown a positive results rate of about seven percent, and is currently at about ten percent, DHHS data shows.

     Testing remains available at Columbus Regional Healthcare in Whiteville, and at Goshen Medical clinics in Tabor City, Whiteville and Chadbourn, the NC Department of Health and Human Resources “Find My Testing Place” webpage says.

     An option for at-home testing can also be found on the page here.

Columbus reports 39th COVID death, 28 cases since Monday

     A COVID-19 death involving a Columbus County resident early this week was confirmed by the Columbus County Health Department Thursday.

     That death, the 39th of the pandemic, occurred Monday, notification apparently too late for the health department’s first of twice weekly COVID updates. No additional information was released, as in previous instances, to protect family privacy.

     Another 28 Columbus residents have tested positive for the coronavirus since Monday’s update, the Thursday news release said. Fifteen were confirmed June 30, five July 1, and eight today (July 2).

     “There are currently four Columbus County residents that are hospitalized due to COVID-19,” the news release said.

     Of 545 county residents who have tested positive for the virus, 315 have recovered.

     Zip Code data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, updated daily, showed three new COVID infections in the Tabor City area, one each in Chadbourn, Hallsboro, Bolton and Delco.

     Pandemic total cases/deaths by Zip Code reported by DHHS Thursday were: Tabor City, 123/11; Clarendon, 15/1; Nakina, 8/2; Fair Bluff, 23/4; Cerro Gordo, 19/0; Chadbourn, 77/5; Whiteville, 149/12; Evergreen, 11/0; Hallsboro, 42/2; Lake Waccamaw, 34/3; Bolton, 17/0; Delco, 16/0; and Riegelwood, 29/0.

     Statewide: North Carolina’s pandemic total of COVID cases reached 68,142 Thursday, up by 1,629 From Wednesday, with 1,391 people claimed by the virus, that up by 18 from the day before.

     DHHS data showed 912 of the state’s residents currently hospitalized with the coronavirus, 11 more than Wednesday.

Two new pandemic deaths in Horry, 179 more with the virus

     Two additional Horry County residents have died of complications of COVID-19, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported for the second day in a row Thursday.

     That brings to 46 the number of county residents claimed by the coronavirus during the pandemic. Both were elderly people, DHEC reported.

     Another 179 county residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, DHEC data showed Thursday, bringing the pandemic total for Horry to 3,727.

     Ten of the new cases came from the Loris Zip Code, mirroring the increase reported Wednesday. Thursday’s DHEC data showed the Loris pandemic total now 252.

     Green Sea Zip Code data showed infections there unchanged at 16.

     Statewide South Carolina has recorded 39,587 COVID confirmed cases since the pandemic began, an increase of 1,629 from Wednesday, with 777 people across the state who have died of the disease, 19 more than Wednesday.

     A total of 1,125 Palmetto State residents were reported hospitalized for coronavirus complications Thursday, a decrease of 35 from the day before.

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.