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Horry Schools go virtual after the holidays; COVID deaths top 80 in Columbus, two a day trend hits 5th day in Horry

Governor Roy Cooper watches while Tracy Toner gives a COVID-19 vaccination to Duke nurse Arianna Motsinger at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham on Monday. (Shawn Rocco, Duke Health)




     Coronavirus trends that followed Thanksgiving have prompted the Horry County Schools to plan for all distance-learning during the first two weeks of the new year.

     Meanwhile, COVID-19 deaths continue to climb in the region, the Columbus County Health Department reporting two more on Monday, as a trend of two reported coronavirus fatalities per day for Horry County hit its fifth day.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Horry Schools will be 100% virtual Jan. 4 – 15
  • COVID deaths top 80 in Columbus
  • Horry continues 2/day coronavirus deaths, new cases back above 100

Horry Schools will be 100% virtual Jan. 4 – 15

     With an eye to COVID-19 related cases and staff quarantines that followed the Thanksgiving break, the Horry County Schools will utilize all distance learning for the first two weeks of the new year, district spokesperson Lisa Bourcier announced Monday.

     Increases in both coronavirus cases and resulting quarantines were “dispersed around the District” following the Thanksgiving break, Bourcier said.

     Complicating factors include the fact that school district personnel will not be in contact with students and staff daily during the two-week holiday break, that begins Wednesday, and “will not be able to track and record COVID-19 case data as accurately as we would under normal operations,” a news release from Bourcier said.

     Full-time distance learning for the weeks of Jan. 4 and 11, 2021 is a “safety precaution,” Bourcier said.

     “During the course of these two weeks of full-time distance learning, school facilities will be closed, and no students will be in the school buildings,” Bourcier said. “All teachers will provide instruction to students through the virtual environment.”

     Athletic events already scheduled during the holiday break may continue, but district personnel “will continue to monitor teams, and should COVID-19 issues arise, individual athletes and/or entire teams may be quarantined.

     “A decision regarding all regularly scheduled athletic and extra-curricular activities for the first two weeks of January will be made and communicated near the end of winter break based upon data available at that time.”

COVID deaths top 80 in Columbus

     Columbus residents who died Friday and Saturday brought the county’s pandemic total of lives lost to COVID-19 to 81, the Columbus County Health Department reported.

     One of those died in a hospital, the other at home, the health department reported, while continuing its practice of not providing additional details “to protect the families’ privacy,” a health department news release said.

     Another 75 county residents have been infected with COVID-19 since Thursday, bringing that pandemic total to 3,318.

     Only two of those cases “are associated with congregate living facilities,” including nursing homes, assisted living facilities or prisons, the health department reported.

     Daily data from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety indicates no new confirmed COVID-19 cases at the two prisons in Columbus County in nearly a week, and NC Department of Health and Human Services data Friday did not indicate new cases at nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the county, with the next update expected Tuesday.

     “There are currently 15 Columbus County residents that are hospitalized due to COVID-19,” the health department reported.

     Caution urged: Due to the Christmas holiday the next county COVID-19 update will be next Monday.

     “The Columbus County Health Department is urging county residents to take the measures necessary to protect themselves, their families, and their community from COVID-19,” the news release said. “If you leave home, practice your Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Wait 6 feet apart and avoid close contact. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.”

     DHHS data, which typically lags that provided by the county, indicated 14 newly infected Columbus County residents on Monday, the county total reflected on the state dashboard of 3,268 45 fewer than the county reported.

     Single day new cases in the county’s Zip Codes, the DHHS reported, were at most in single digits, led by Whiteville with five, Chadbourn with three, Tabor City with two.

     North Carolina reported 4,479 new COVID infections Monday, and 16 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 483,647 and 6,240 respectively.

     Statewide 2,817 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Monday, up by 69 from the day before.

Horry continues 2/day coronavirus deaths, new cases back above 100

     Two COVID-19 associated deaths for Horry County have been reported for each of the past five days, with the county’s pandemic total reaching 249 on data reported by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control.

     Both of those deaths involved elderly people who died on Dec. 17, the DHEC data shows.

     After a single-day reprieve, Horry resumed a string of 100 plus days of newly confirmed coronavirus infections among its citizens, 129 reflected in Monday’s DHEC data, bringing the county’s total to 16,248.

     Six of those newly reported cases were from the Loris Zip code, none from Green Sea. Those pandemic COVID case totals are 941 for Loris, 110 for Green Sea.

     South Carolina has recorded 255,201 COVID cases during the pandemic, 4,587 deaths, those numbers up by 2,121 and 21 respectively since Sunday.

     Statewide 1,523 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Monday, that number up by 52 from Sunday.


     Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.