The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Friday announced 770 new cases of COVID-19 reported (with 88 of those in Horry County) and five deaths. This brings the state's count up to 17,170 cases with 593 deaths.
All five deaths occurred in elderly individuals in Aiken, Charleston, Lexington, Orangeburg, and Richland counties.
The local total is up to 936 cases with 33 deaths. Accounting for undiagnosed cases, DHEC estimates that Horry County been home to more than 6,000 cases, and more than 117,000 cases statewide.
Yesterday's announcement of 687 new cases broke the previous new case record of 531 cases reported on Wednesday. Cases and hospitalizations have been spiking locally and across the state, with DHEC calling Horry County a "hotspot" on Monday.
Horry County's hospital capacity was at 87.6 percent as of Friday morning. The state's was 72.84 percent, with out of 7,614 beds occupied, 512 were occupied by positive or suspected COVID-19 patients.
Different local hospitals have said they normally operate at anywhere from around 80 percent capacity up to almost 100 percent capacity during the summer.
"We cannot stress enough how critical it is for easy and every one of us to wear a mask," DHEC Director of Public Health Dr. Joan Duwve said yesterday. "These precautions, in particular masks and social distancing, are our playbook for how to stop the virus. I can’t stress enough that it is absolutely necessary if we want to get ahead of this virus."
DHEC officials have said there's no single answer for the reason in the spike that has occurred, speculating that it's likely due to increasing tourism and community spread as too many residents fail to practice social distancing and wear masks.
“Rest assured that this is something we’re going to see continue," Duwve said. "We are seeing outbreaks that are related to any time people get together in close proximity and don’t social distance and don’t wear a mask. I know we’re all looking for that one answer, but believe me, we’re going to continue to see this until we practice what we’re preaching.”
The state has been ramping up testing, but DHEC has not been including the results of anti-body test in its total case count, the agency said in a Thursday news release. Anti-body tests show people who have been infected in the past.
The total number of people tested yesterday for the virus statewide was 5,357, with 14.4 percent of those turning out positive for COVID-19.
But DHEC officials have already made clear that the uptick in cases and hospitalizations won't slow down unless people began practicing social distancing, wearing masks in public and staying home if they don't feel well.
"We are anecdotally seeing people congregating and people not wearing masks. The data all fits together," said Duwve.
DHEC has 93 free mobile testing clinics scheduled all over the state, and local healthcare facilities are offering testing as well. Residents can also get tested at one of 173 permanent testing facilities across the state.
Here are some upcoming testing events in our area below. For a full list click here.
• June 13, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Myrtle Beach Pelicans Stadium, 1251 21st Avenue North, Myrtle Beach
• June 19, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Inlet Square Mall, 10125 Highway 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet
• June 24, noon - 6 p.m. Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital, 100 Water Grande Boulevard, Little River
• June 26, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Coastal Carolina University, 100 Chanticleer Drive, Conway