‘Alarming’ COVID trends spark ‘modified’ stay at home order for NC; a nursing home outbreak in CC; another 100+ case day for Horry

DHHS Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, with a sign interpreter, discusses COVID-19 metrics during Tuesday’s news briefing. (UNC-TV screenshot)

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     “Alarming” COVID-19 trends in North Carolina have prompted a partial curfew order effective Friday.

     Meanwhile coronavirus numbers are growing at a Whiteville nursing home and across the border Horry County has recorded a full week with more than 100 new case confirmations each day.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • “Modified” stay at home order for NC starts Friday
  • COVID outbreak grows at Liberty Commons
  • Seven consecutive 100+ case days for Horry

“Modified” stay at home order for NC starts Friday

     An “alarming” rise in COVID-19 infections, positive test rates, deaths and hospitalizations has prompted a “modified” stay at home order, essentially a curfew, across North Carolina effective Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper and NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said Tuesday.

     Effective Friday through at least Jan. 8, 2021, the governor’s latest executive order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 p.m. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted.

     Business that sell alcohol for on-premise consumption are required to stop those sales by 9 p.m., the order says.

     “We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement,” Gov. Cooper said during a news briefing in Raleigh. “With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down.

     “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”

     Other details on Gov. Cooper’s order can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page, located here. See the new Executive Order here.

     Rapidly worsening: North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends have rapidly worsened, Dr. Cohen said, with nearly half its counties now designated as “red” int eh state’s COVID-19 County Alert System, unveiled just three weeks ago.

     Three weeks ago there were 20 counties designated as “red,” for critical community spread, including Columbus County.

     Now there are 48 counties designated “red,” another 34 counties designated as “orange,” with substantial community spread, leaving only 18 in “yellow” with significant community spread.

     “Just three weeks ago the state was mostly yellow,” Dr. Cohen said. “Now it’s mostly read and orange.”

     It will take the people of North Carolina pulling together to do what the health experts knows works, Dr. Cohen said, to turn the trends around.

     “Do not wait until it is you or your loved one who is sick,” Dr. Cohen said. “Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19.

     “Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now.”

COVID outbreak grows at Liberty Commons

     A COVID-19 outbreak at Liberty Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has involved 18 residents and staff members since Friday, data from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services showed Tuesday.

     Resident cases have risen by 10 since Friday, to 25, with 8 staff members also reported as newly infected, that total now 22, the DHHS dashboard showed.

     Steep overall increases in COVID cases across Columbus County appear to have stalled, at least for now, DHHS data for the past few days indicates. Those numbers can fluctuate significantly from day to day, but Tuesday’s data showed 11 newly confirmed cases, the pandemic total now 2,902.

     No new cases were reported at Tabor Correctional Institution or Columbus Correctional, the state prisons in the county, state Department of Public Safety data showed Tuesday. TCI marked a sharp decrease in currently active COVID cases, from 45 Monday to just 5 on Tuesday, the DPS data showed.

     North Carolina reported 4,670 new COVID infections Tuesday, and 45 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 404,032 and 5,605 respectively.

     Statewide 2,370 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, another pandemic record.

     Free testing: Free drive-through COVID-19 rapid tests will be given at the Columbus County Health Department in Whiteville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Friday.

     Appointments are required, and may be made by calling 910-640-6615 extension 7006 or 7007.

Seven consecutive 100+ case days for Horry

     A streak of days with more than 100 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Horry County hit its seventh day Tuesday, with 115 cases that may have seemed a respite from the 189 infections reported by the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control Monday.

     There no new coronavirus associated deaths shown for Horry on Tuesday, bringing the pandemic’s totals to 14,646 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 235 associated deaths.

     Five of the newly reported cases were from the Loris area, two from Green Sea, DHEC Zip Code data showed. Since the pandemic began in March 790 Loris area residents are known to have been infected by COVID-19, 88 in Green Sea, though DHEC leaders have said the real numbers are unknown and likely much, much higher.

     South Carolina has recorded 221,961 COVID cases during the pandemic, 4,253 deaths, those numbers up by 2,115 and 4 respectively since Monday.

     Statewide 1,179 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, that number up by 154 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.