COVID-19 Hartsville testing 2

Cars line up for a Medical University of South Carolina mobile testing site in Hartsville on Monday, May 18, 2020. DHEC is ramping up mobile testing sites across South Carolina in an effort to double its testing capacity to 2 percent of the population, or 110,000 people per month, focusing first on underserved areas. Photo by Christian Boschult

Update: On Friday, DHEC changed the previously scheduled mobile testing site in Horry County from Carolina Forest Elementary School to McLeod Health Carolina Forest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The address is 1101 McLeod Health Blvd, Myrtle Beach.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday announced 125 new cases of COVID-19, including eight in Horry County, and eight more deaths from the disease. None of the deaths were local.

It brings South Carolina's cumulative total of COVID-19 patients to 9,175, with 407 deaths.

Horry County is now home to a cumulative total of 314 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 20 deaths. Accounting for untested and undiagnosed patients, DHEC estimates there could be more than 2,200 COVID-19 cases in Horry County and more than 65,000 across the state. [Click here to see DHEC's map of COVID-19 cases by zip code.]

The agency also released its first scheduled mobile testing clinic in Horry County. Testing will occur June 5 at McLeod Health Carolina Forest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m

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. The agency plans to test 2 percent of the population, or 110,000 people per month.

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, with 50 sites scheduled through June 12. [Click here for a list of all mobile testing locations]

DHEC also has 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, 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 Wednesday morning, 3,030 hospital beds in the state were free, with 7,209 in use, putting the state's inpatient hospital beds at 70 percent capacity. Of the occupied beds, 414 are holding patients who have tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19.

Horry County's hospital bed capacity was at 73 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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