COVID claims TCI inmate, Horry cases surge, indoor crowd limits cut in NC

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     COVID-19 has claimed an inmate at Tabor Correctional Institution, as coronavirus cases are surging in Horry County and indoor gathering limits are being reduced in North Carolina.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • COVID claims Tabor Correctional inmate
  • Horry records 87 new infections in a day
  • NC continues Phase 3 pause, lowers indoor gathering limit

COVID claims Tabor Correctional inmate

     An inmate at Tabor Correctional Institution has died, nearly two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, the NC Department of Public Safety announced Tuesday.

     “The offender tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 27, a NCDPS news release said. “He was hospitalized on Oct. 28. His condition worsened, and he died on Nov. 9.”

     Described as a man in his early 60s, the man who died had “underlying health conditions,” the news release said. No further information will be released about the man, the DPS said.

     “His death is tragic, and we continue to work hard to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons,” Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said. “The health and safety of the staff and the offender population is our top priority.”

     TCI has the largest active COVID-19 outbreak in the state’s prison system, with 162 active cases and 225 inmates testing positive for the virus during the pandemic, NCDPS data showed Tuesday.

     There are currently 337 active COVID-19 cases in all of the state’s correctional facilities, the DPS data showed.

     Look for more on the outbreak at TCI, and processes in place across the prison system in response to the pandemic, in Wednesday’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.

     Impacts of the TCI outbreak were reflected in new case totals for Columbus County reported by the state Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday.

     That data, updated daily but often lagging behind the twice-weekly reports of the Columbus County Health Department, showed 26 newly confirmed COVID cases in the county Tuesday, 22 of those in the Tabor City Zip Code which includes TCI.

     That data did not reflect the inmate death, the toll in lives among county residents during the pandemic remaining at 66 Tuesday, with a pandemic case total of 1,981, that fewer than the 1,993 total reported by the health department Monday.

     North Carolina recorded 2,582 new COVID infections Tuesday, and 45 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 297,442 and 4,660 respectively. Statewide 1,230 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus, that number up by 61 from Monday.

Horry records 87 new infections in a day

     A surge of 87 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases among Horry County residents was reported by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control Tuesday, the biggest one-day jump in recent weeks.

     There were no new deaths, the pandemic total at 214 since Saturday, with the number of confirmed cases involving Horry residents reaching 12,134, the DHEC data showed.

     Eight of the newly confirmed cases were in the Loris Zip Code, none in Green Sea. Pandemic total cases for the Loris area is now 702, Green Sea 61.

     South Carolina has recorded 177,515 COVID cases during the pandemic, 3,795 deaths, those numbers up by 1,326 and 18 respectively since Monday.

     Statewide 784 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, that number up by 38 from Monday.

Gov. Roy Cooper (UNC TV)

NC continues Phase 3 pause, lowers indoor gathering limit

     North Carolina’s limit on many indoor mass gatherings will be cut to 10 from 25 effective this Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

     Gov. Cooper’s newest executive order extends the pause in the state’s Phase 3 reopening plan until at least Dec. 4, and is designed, he said, to discourage family and other gatherings during Thanksgiving that could serve to further spread COVID-19.

     Gov. Cooper explained the order after state Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen reviewed COVID trends, with both of the state leaders lauding the fact that the state has avoided a surge that has hammered some other states, but saying that the trends are not where they need to be.

     “This reduction in our indoor gathering limit aims to slow the spread and bring down our numbers,” Gov. Cooper said. “It also sends a serious signal to families, friends and neighbors across our state. Success in slowing the spread will help our businesses.”

     Capacity limits for businesses and other entities already laid out, including religious institutions and restaurants, are not impacted by the new order, Gov. Cooper and Dr. Cohen said.

     See the governor’s executive order here.

     Dr. Cohen said she was encouraged by faith leaders who have taken active steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, limiting indoor services, many holding virtual services, moving outdoors, or taking other mitigating steps.

     She repeated the plea she has made often during the pandemic for everyone to use common sense steps to slow the spread of the virus.

     “Let’s keep our friends, family, and loved ones safe this holiday season,” Dr. Cohen said. “If you are going to travel or get together, plan ahead to reduce the risk to your family and friends.

     “Remember, it’s not how well you know someone when it comes to wearing a mask. If they don’t live with you, get behind the mask.”

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.