The state Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday announced 601 new cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, including 15 in Horry County.
The agency also announced 26 new confirmed deaths connected to the disease in the state. No new deaths were reported in Horry County.
Horry County's cumulative total of COVID-19 cases is now 9,320, and 177 of those patients have died.The state's cumulative total is 118,699 with 2,652 deaths.
So far in Horry County, DHEC has tested 75,424 samples for COVID-19, and 16.6% came back positive. As of Tuesday, 1,023,083 tests have been administered across the state.
DHEC reported results from 3,063 test across the state on Tuesday, and 19.6% came back positive, the state agency said.
Currently, there are 240 mobile testing events scheduled through Oct. 17, and there are 236 permanent testing sites in South Carolina. Find a testing clinic or event near you at scdhec.gov/covid19testing.
DHEC said Wednesday that 82.8% of the county’s hospital beds are occupied.
On Tuesday, S.C. Governor Henry McMaster announced the loosening of restrictions for those with loved ones staying in certain S.C. nursing homes and assisted living facilities with ability to have an outdoor, socially-distanced visit with their loved ones.
"Restricting visitation to the state's nursing homes and assisted living facilities in March was a heartbreaking necessity, but it was the most effective way to contain the spread and save the lives of our state's elderly and at-risk residents," McMaster said during his Tuesday afternoon press conference.
DHEC Director Marshall Taylor said that the new guidelines do not mean visitation is available for everyone at every facility. Click here for more information regarding visitation guidelines for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
Throughout the month of August, Horry County has not seen a day with a daily COVID-19 case total of more than 100. The last time the county saw more than 100 daily new cases of COVID-19 was July 28
State health officials continue to stress the importance of testing, emphasizing that even those without symptoms might still be infected and pass the disease to loved ones.
DHEC advises folks to get tested if they've experienced any of these symptoms:
• Fever or chills
• Sore throat
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• New loss of taste or smell
• Muscle or body aches
• Congestion or runny nose
• Nausea or vomiting
One should also get tested if it is recommended by one’s doctor/health care provider, the person was within five feet of others for more than 15 minutes without wearing a face covering.
Officials also recommend testing for those who live with or have been around someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19, believes they may have COVID-19, or has shown symptoms.
Unincorporated Horry County, Conway, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Atlantic Beach all have mask requirements.
North Myrtle Beach City Council on Monday voted to extend its ordinance for 60 days, citing the benefits of face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Horry County council members voted to extend the emergency policy for another 60 days.
DHEC has shared data showing that communities with mask requirements continue to see a slower rate of COVID-19 spreading compared to ones without the rules.
Also, a recent study by Duke University shows that neck gaiters might be among the least effective kinds of face coverings for preventing the spread of respiratory droplets, according to DHEC.
Horry County Schools students will return to school on Sept. 8 with a hybrid instructional model, the school district announced. Students will have two days of in-person learning and three days of distance learning each week.