COVID-19 Update

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Friday announced 232 new cases of COVID-19, including six in Horry County, and nine additional deaths related to the disease. None the deaths were in Horry County.

That brings South Carolina's cumulative total of COVID-19 patients to 8,407 and the number of dead up to to 380. 

Horry County, one of the least-affected counties in the state by a per-capita infection rate, is home to a cumulative total of 283 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 18 who died. The infection rate is about 80 cases per 100,000 people and only a handful of other counties have lower infection rates.

Accounting for undiagnosed patients, DHEC estimates there could actually be more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in Horry County and almost 60,000 across the state.

[Click here to see DHEC's map of COVID-19 cases by zip code.]

To get a better idea of how many people in South Carolina have COVID-19, DHEC plans to test around 2 percent of the state's population, or 110,000 residents per month, and is setting up mobile testing sites around the state, with a list of locations published on its website. There are currently 58 sites scheduled through June 4.

The entries marked with "DHEC" are free to the public.

[Click here for a list of all mobile testing locations]

There are no sites currently scheduled locally, but a DHEC spokesperson said Horry County would be home to a testing site in the next several weeks.

The state is predicting 900 new cases a week by the end of May, with a cumulative total of 10,493 cases by May 30.

As of Friday morning, almost 110,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in South Carolina. Horry County's hospital bed hospital bed capacity was at 74.5 percent.

South Carolina's hospital capacity this morning was 67 percent, with 3,405 inpatient hospital beds available and 6,970 in use. Of the occupied beds, 423 have patients who have tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

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. 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 on Thursday launched a radio PSA to offer guidance on when and how to wear a mask. 

The agency says people should wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose when in public, wash the mask after use, refrain from touching the front of the mask and wash their hands before handling their mask.

People shouldn't use surgical masks needed by medical professionals, and masks shouldn't be used on children younger than 2 years old, DHEC said.

While masks aren't as effective in protecting its owner from catching the virus, they can help the person wearing the mask protect those around them. Some people, especially younger people, can carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms, and even those who do show symptoms can still spread the virus before they know they're infected.

[Click here to listen to the PSA, and click here for a video on how to make your own mask.]

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