COVID-19 Update

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Tuesday announced 137 new cases of COVID-19, including seven in Horry County, and eight additional deaths from the disease. 

One of the deaths was a middle-aged person from Horry County. 

It brings South Carolina's cumulative total of COVID-19 patients to 9,056, including 399 people who have died.

The recovery rate is currently about 85 percent, according to DHEC. The rate is calculated based on the 6,769 patients for which DHEC knows the date of the first sign of symptoms. Of those, 356 have died, and the rest are currently ill. 

Horry County is now home to a cumulative total of 303 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 20 deaths. Including untested and undiagnosed patients, DHEC estimates there could be more than 2,100 COVID-19 cases in Horry County and close to 65,000 across the state. [Click here to see DHEC's map of COVID-19 cases by zip code.]

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 DHEC increases the number of tests it administer through the use of mobile testing clinics, the number of new lab-confirmed cases is expected to increase as cases that would have previously gone undiagnosed are now included.

DHEC is on track to meet its goal of testing 110,000 people this month. Since the pandemic began, the agency has tested more than 135,000 people.

Part of the effort to ramp up testing involves mobile testing sites set up around the state where any resident can go get tested. DHEC has a running list of locations published on its website. [Click here for a list of all mobile testing locations]

DHEC on Tuesday launched a map showing all screening and testing sites around the state, including contact info and hours of operation. The map includes all known testing screening locations. The locations are not the same as the mobile testing clinics, and may require an appointment and payment. [Click here for the testing and screening sites]

On Tuesday morning, Tidelands Health announced it was partnering with DHEC to run free testing clinics throughout Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties. Pre-screening is not required. [Click here to learn more about the local testing]

As of Tuesday morning, 3,292 of the state's inpatient hospital beds were available and 7,046 were in use, which is a 68 percent hospital bed utilization rate. Of the 7,046 beds in use, 444 are occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19. Horry County's hospital bed capacity was at 71 percent.

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.

Last week, DHEC launched a PSA to encourage folks to wear masks in public.

While masks aren't as effective in protecting the wearer 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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