COVID-19 Update

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Monday announced 543 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 16 in Horry County.

The department reported 7 additional deaths linked to COVID-19. No new deaths were reported in Horry County.

The statewide cumulative total is now at 111,202 and there have been 2,387 deaths connected to the disease in South Carolina.

In Horry County, there have been 9,053 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 168 deaths of patients connected to COVID-19.

As of Sunday, DHEC said a total of 958,722 tests have been conducted in the state. 

But that number is less than Saturday's total of 975,875 tests. DHEC officials said in a release on Saturday that they have found four different instances where the number of tests were duplicated.

"Through our quality control processes, we’ve identified that the number of tests performed was duplicated on four days - May 1, June 1, July 1 and August 1, " DHEC said in their release. "Today, we’re removing the duplication of numbers for those four days."

DHEC officials say that this leads to a decrease of approximately 21,000 for the total number of tests performed in the state and that the current number of positive and negative test results is accurate.

The total number of individual test results reported to DHEC Sunday was 4,090, not including antibody tests, with 13.3% coming back positive.

According to DHEC, Horry County had 527 hospital beds in use and was operating at a 78.8% utilization rate as of late Saturday.

Of the 1,634 ventilators in the state, 520 are in use and 148 of those are being utilized by COVID-19 patients. Out of 1,046 intensive care unit beds in use, 248 were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

DHEC is reporting 979 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the state, and the agency said of 10,133 inpatient beds in South Carolina, 7,635 are occupied — an 75.35% utilization rate.

Disease Activity Report and Horry County Schools

Only more week until Horry County Schools finds out exactly how the first day of school will look on September 8, and today's DHEC Disease Activity Report shows numbers creeping toward a possible hybrid start to the school year.

Today’s DHEC update regarding the latest disease spread activity shows a medium disease spread, a medium incidence rate of 129.6 per 100,000 people, and the county's incidence rate is trending downward, with 14.5% of the COVID-19 tests coming out positive.

This report is updated each Monday and reviews data from the prior two weeks. HCS will use the data reported next Monday, Aug. 31 to determine whether students will attend the first day of school in a face-to-face, hybrid, or distance learning setting.

The opening of schools will factor in the low, medium, or high rate of disease instances, whether that rate is trending upwards or downwards, and the instance is the percent of positive cases.

A low spread would mean face-to-face learning five days per week could take place, with safety protocols in place. A medium spread classification from DHEC would have children starting in a hybrid fashion, which would be a combination of face-to-face school for two days per week and three days per week of distance learning with an A/B split schedule to help with social distancing. A high spread would have students exclusively using distance learning.

Currently, 17 S.C. counties have a medium spread, 29 counties still have a high rate of COVID-19 spread, and no S.C. county has reached a low spread rate yet. 

Testing sites

There are 243 mobile testing events scheduled through Oct. 13, and new testing events are being added regularly. Find a mobile testing clinic event near you at scdhec.gov/covid19mobileclinics.

Residents can also visit scdhec.gov/covid19testing for information about getting tested at one of 223 permanent COVID-19 testing facilities across the state.

Tidelands Health is offering free drive-through COVID-19 testing every Tuesday in Pawleys Island and every Friday in Myrtle Beach.

The Pawleys Island testing is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. or until supplies run out every Tuesday at the Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Parish at 1633 Waverly Road.

The Myrtle Beach testing is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. or until supplies run out every Friday at Horry-Georgetown Technical College's Conference Center at 950 Crabtree Lane.

Each testing event will have enough DHEC-supplied test kits to handle 250 people. Pre-screening is not required.

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.

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