Covid 19 Artwork

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday announced 151 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total up to 925 cases across 41 counties.

One new case is from Horry County, bringing the local total up to 32 cases.

“We’re all in this together,” DHEC physician Dr. Brannon Traxler. "Today’s announcement is a stark reminder of the serious threat that COVID-19 poses to our families, friends, and communities. We encourage all South Carolinians to continue to listen to the guidance of our public health professionals and to, when possible, stay home and limit your close contact with others."

So far, officials have reported 18 deaths in South Carolina connected to COVID-19, include three in Horry County.

We recognize that this is a challenging time and that what we’re calling on everyone across our state to do is not easy,” Traxler said. “But the risk of inaction is far too great. If we all don’t follow the guidance for social distancing and staying home, then we can anticipate seeing higher rates of cases similar to what we’ve seen in other states.” 

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, has changed the landscape of South Carolina’s society. 

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered all bars and restaurants are closed to dine-in customers beginning March 18, although take-out is permitted. The governor’s office said Monday that the order would not be lifted at the end of the month. 

Groups of more than three people can be dispersed by law enforcement. Hospitals no longer allow visitors.

Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Horry County have all banned short-term rentals through April, and McMaster issued an executive order mandating all new visitors to South Carolina from COVID-19 hotspots quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival.

Non-essential employees are working from home, and schools and universities all over the state have moved to an online format. The state’s income tax deadline has been extended to July 15.

Bartenders, servers and other hourly workers have been hit hard. Filings for unemployment have skyrocketed, and applications for unemployment benefits increased 1,600 percent, statewide, the week the governor closed the bars and restaurants. That week, Horry County led the state in applications with more than 5,000 people filing for benefits. Only 112 people had filed for benefits the week before.

COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December, but China didn’t confirm its existence until January. The virus reached America in late January. The disease mainly targets the respiratory system, and while the virus can still hospitalize young people, older people with weaker immune systems are more susceptible and have a higher mortality rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms can appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure, and some people are a-symptomatic. That means younger healthy people without severe symptoms can still transfer the virus to more susceptible populations who might require a hospital stay to survive.

The CDC encourages people to restrict their travel, practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap, avoid touching their face and regularly clean high-use personal items, in order to slow the spread of the virus.

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