By DEUCE NIVEN
Two more Columbus County residents have been claimed by COVID-19, another in Horry as cases continue to rise sharply.
Meanwhile, North Carolina leaders are urging local officials to actively enforce pandemic safety measures.
This post will cover these topics and may be updated:
- COVID claims two more in Columbus, 72 new cases
- Three days, a death & 401 confirmed infections in Horry
- NC leaders call on locals for enforcement support
COVID claims two more in Columbus, 72 new cases
Two new COVID-19 associated deaths of Columbus County residents brings that pandemic total to 76, with another 76 citizens confirmed as infected with the coronavirus since Thursday, the Columbus County Health Department reported Monday.
County residents died of COVID-19 complications on Dec. 10 and 11, both while in a hospital, the health department reported.
Newly confirmed cases bring the county’s pandemic total to 3,099, the health department reported, and include 15 people associated with correctional facilities and long-term care facilities in the county.
Data from the NC Department of Public Safety indicates the bulk, if not all of those new congregate care cases may come from Columbus Correctional Institution, which has seen 29 positive tests from inmates since last Wednesday.
Zip Code data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services shows 17 newly confirmed COVID cases from the Tabor City area since Thursday, the pandemic total now 958. Another 41 cases have been confirmed in the Whiteville Zip Code since Thursday, the DHHS data shows, the pandemic total there now 903.
Columbus Correctional is located within the Whiteville Zip Code.
Timing of data from the Columbus County Health Department is often ahead of that reported daily by state agencies, but the county figures are typically released only on Monday and Thursday.
Currently 16 Columbus residents are hospitalized due to COVID-19, the health department reported.
3Ws: Health Department leaders continue to urge residents “to take the measures necessary to protect themselves, their families, and their community from COVID-19,” the health department news release said. “If you leave home, practice your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Wait six feet apart and avoid close contact. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.”
Free testing: Free drive-through COVID-19 rapid tests will be given again 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.
North Carolina reported 4,770 new COVID infections Monday, and 32 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 441,365 and 5,855 respectively.
Statewide 2,553 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Monday, up by 33 from the day before.
Three days, a death & 401 confirmed infections in Horry
While the first COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer were given to front-line providers at Conway Medical Center on Monday, Horry County recorded another 102 coronavirus infections for the day, 401 for a three-day span that also included the county’s 240th COVID associated death.
That death, reported Saturday, occurred Dec. 9 and involved a middle-aged person.
Doses sufficient for 975 people have been delivered to the hospital in Conway, The Sun News in Myrtle Beach reported, enough for everyone on staff who wants one.
Five workers were vaccinated Monday morning.
COVID-19 precautions will be ongoing for many months, state and federal health care leaders have warned, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying that it will take 75 to 80 percent of the nation’s population receiving the vaccine before a return to what was once normal can be considered.
Coronavirus infections continue to soar in Horry, state Department of Health and Environmental data shows.
Since Friday the county’s pandemic case total has soared past 15,000, reaching 15,403 on Monday, the DHEC data showed. Zip Code data from DHEC showed 46 of those newly reported cases from the Loris area since Friday, 8 from Green Sea, bringing those pandemic totals to 861 and 100 respectively.
South Carolina has recorded 236,785 COVID cases during the pandemic, 4,398 deaths, those numbers up by 2,364 and 11 respectively since Sunday.
Statewide 1,276 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Monday, that number down by 2 from Sunday.
NC leaders call on locals for enforcement support
Gov. Roy Cooper and other North Carolina leaders have written a letter to local elected officials “imploring them to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities by considering additional enforcement measures,” a news release from the governor’s office said Monday.
Gov. Cooper, Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mandy Cohen, and Department of Public Safety Director Eric Hooks sent the letter Friday.
“Now more than ever we need help with enforcement from our local partners to fight this raging pandemic,” Gov. Cooper said. “Taking steps now to protect our communities by enforcing safety precautions will help reduce transmission of the virus and save lives.”
A recent advisory opinion from the North Carolina Department of Justice concludes that local governments may unquestionably enforce local ordinances that establish civil penalties for violations of the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders, the letter said
“We are on a dangerous course,” Dr. Cohen said. “Everyone – our counties and municipalities, businesses, community organizations, and every North Carolinian – must act to save lives and make sure our hospitals can care for those who need them.”
“Good public health is vitally important to maintaining a safe and secure environment,” Hooks said. “Public safety professionals at all levels of government are essential to supporting the public health sector of our state and nation’s critical infrastructure.”
Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.