The state Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday announced 1,084 new cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, including 34 in Horry County.
The agency also announced 12 new confirmed deaths connected to the disease in the state. One new death was reported in an elderly individual in Horry County.
Horry County's cumulative total of COVID-19 cases is now 9,356, and 178 of those patients have died.The state's cumulative total is 119,822 with 2,667 deaths.
DHEC wished to clarify recent misunderstandings regarding a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) regarding deaths associated with COVID-19.
A provisional death data report was updated last week by the CDC and it showed that out of the near 180,000 American deaths linked to COVID-19, only six percent of those deaths had COVID-19 as the only cause of death mentioned. The remaining 94 percent of deaths were among people with other underlying or contributing conditions but COVID-19 was still a factor in the deaths.
In their Thursday release, DHEC explained that someone's cause of death, as listed on a death certificate, includes an immediate cause, intermediate causes, underlying cause, and contributing conditions.
A common example of cause of death involving COVID-19, DHEC said, would have acute respiratory distress syndrome as the immediate cause of death, which is the ultimate condition that caused the death. The intermediate cause of death would have been pneumonia, with COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death.
The underlying cause of death is the condition that leads, via intermediate causes, to the immediate cause of death, according to today's release.
DHEC says that contributing factors such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, or any other illness or condition could have made the condition that was the cause of death worse than it would have been.
While it is understood that people such as older adults are more likely to have more contributing factors, DHEC said that if the person does not contract COVID-19, those factors don't start the "cascade of events" that lead to death.
"Therefore, while COVID-19 infection had a significant role in causing the death in the example, it was not the only cause of death listed," DHEC said in their release. "As a result, that death would not count in the six percent from the CDC."
DHEC said this is not new information.
"It’s been understood for quite some time that individuals with certain underlying conditions are at greater risk for severe illness and death," the release said.
So far in Horry County, DHEC tested 75,881 samples for COVID-19, and 16.6% came back positive. As of Wednesday, 1,033,762 tests have been administered across the state.
DHEC reported results from 6,560 tests across the state on Wednesday, and 16.5% came back positive, the state agency said.
Currently, there are 248 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 84.5% 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.
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's recent data shows 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 that first week.