The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday announced 235 new cases of COVID-19, including 17 seven in Horry County, and 17 additional deaths, including one in Horry County, bringing the state's cumulative total of patients to 12,651 including 518 who died.
Horry County is now home to a cumulative case total of 489 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 28 patients who died.
Accounting for undiagnosed patients, DHEC estimates there could be almost 3,500 COVID-19 cases in Horry County and more than 90,000 cases across the state. [Click here to see DHEC's map of COVID-19 cases by zip code.]
DHEC is warning that the number of cases will likely increase as testing capacity increases. But as restrictions are lifted, the agency is warning people to take precautions and remain vigilant.
"The more people you expose yourself to, the more you multiply your risk of being exposed to the virus," said state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. "There are those who are finding ways to hold graduations and open businesses safely through careful planning and attention to crowd density and safety measures such as wearing masks. When we don’t do those things, we can put ourselves and others at risk, and case counts will rise."
DHEC is using mobile testing clinics in their effort to test 2 percent of the population, or 110,000 South Carolinians per month. There are currently 111 clinics scheduled through July 2. [Click here to see a list of mobile clinics.] The state has performed more than 230,000 tests since the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday morning, 3,022 hospital beds across the state were available and 7,340 were being used, which is a 71 percent hospital bed utilization rate. Of the beds in use, 433 were occupied by patients who are under investigation for COVID-19 or who have tested positive.
State officials are encouraging residents to stay home when possible and minimize contact with people outside their households to slow the spread of the virus, especially considering that people can spread the virus before showing symptoms, and can carry the virus without ever showing symptoms at all.
The state recommends practicing social distancing, wearing a mask while out in public, avoiding touching frequently-touched items, routinely washing one's hands and monitoring for symptoms.
DHEC is predicting a cumulative total of 16,913 cases by June 20.