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2021 begins with a COVID-19 rampage


     Just more than a week after Christmas 2021 has begun with COVID-19 on a rampage feared by national health leaders, those worries echoed in the Carolinas and felt well beyond Columbus and Horry counties.

     “We begin 2021 in our most dangerous position in this pandemic,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, North Carolina’s Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a news release Saturday. Her comments would have been equally accurate for South Carolina.

     “I encourage you to avoid getting together indoors with anyone who doesn’t live with you,” Dr. Cohen said. If you plan to see other people keep it outside and very small. Wear a mask the whole time. We must do all that we can to protect one another.”

     Locally case and death totals for 2021 are already alarmingly high, prompting the Columbus County Schools last week to announce the year will begin with all virtual learning (see that story here), and the Horry County Schools to announce an immediate pause on athletics.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • COVID death county up by 15 in Horry, cases rise by 662 in new year
  • Another 172 coronavirus infections reported for Columbus
  • Horry schools pause sports

COVID death county up by 15 in Horry, cases rise by 662 in new year

     Multiple COVID-19 associated death confirmations involving Horry residents have come in the year only in its third day, 15 documented by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control as of Sunday, with 662 county residents confirmed as infected with the coronavirus in the same time frame.

     All of those newly confirmed COVID associated deaths took place in the last month of 2020, the most recent three involving a middle aged and two elderly individuals who died on New Year’s Eve day. Other recently reported deaths were all elderly, taking place Dec. 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, and 30.

     COVID-19 has claimed 277 Horry County lives so far during the pandemic.

     Newly confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded in 2021 include 63 in the Loris Zip Code, 15 in Green Sea. That brings the pandemic total of coronavirus cases involving Horry residents to 1,125, in the Loris Zip Code, 152 in Green Sea, 18,647 for Horry County.

     South Carolina has recorded 296,093 COVID cases during the pandemic, 5,042 deaths, those numbers up by 12,669 and 157 respectively since the year began.

     Statewide 2,072 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Sunday, that number up by 48 in the new year.

Another 172 coronavirus infections reported for Columbus

     Already in 2021 172 Columbus County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services shows.

     A total of 83 Columbus residents have died of coronavirus related complications, that number unchanged in the new year, the DHHS data showed.

     Newly confirmed cases are spread across the county, the Whiteville Zip code with the highest count, 43, followed with Tabor City at 35, Chadbourn with 32, Clarendon with 15. Bolton is the only county Zip Code case with no newly confirmed cases so far this year, the DHHS data showed.

     COVID-19 positive tests have been recorded among 3,801 county residents since last March. Pandemic case/death totals for some of its Zip Codes include Whiteville, 1,135/25; Tabor City, 1,094/23; Chadbourn, 428/9; Clarendon, 135/2; Nakina, 102/2; Cerro Gordo, 97/2; and Fair Bluff, 82/5.

     North Carolina reported 25,924 new COVID infections so far in the new year, and 162 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 564,924 and 6,910 respectively.

     Statewide 3,576 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Sunday, up by 83 in the new year.

Horry schools pause sports

     Winter and spring athletics in the Horry County Schools is taking a pause as the new year begins, through at least Jan. 19, the district announced Sunday.

     All winter sports practices are also being paused through at least Jan. 11, with spring sports conditioning on hold until at least Jan. 19.

     There was no explanation offered in the announcement from district spokeswoman Lisa H. Bourcier, but the county, those surrounding it, and the Carolinas are experiencing COVID-19 related surges in newly confirmed cases, percent positives reported in those tests, hospitalizations, and deaths.

     Winter sport practices placed on hold until Jan. 11 include wrestling, basketball and cheerleading.

     Winter sports competitions and on hold until Jan. 19 include wrestling and basketball, including varsity, junior varsity and B-team.


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