COVID-19 Hartsville testing

Workers run 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

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday announced 126 new cases of COVID-19, including one in Horry County, and six additional deaths from the viral disease. None of the deaths were from Horry County.

It brings South Carolina's cumulative total of COVID-19 patients to 8,942, including 391 deaths.

Horry County is now home to a cumulative total of 299 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 19 deaths. Including untested and undiagnosed patients, DHEC estimates there could be more than 2,100 COVID-19 cases in Horry County and almost 64,000 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. But the projected increase in lab-confirmed cases won't necessarily mean that the disease is spreading any faster. As the state doubles its testing capacity to cover a projected 110,000 South Carolinians per month, or 2 percent of the population, more cases that would have previously gone undiagnosed will be included. So far, DHEC says it's on track to meet that goal and has administered more than 60,000 tests this month. More than 131,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in South Carolina since the start of the outbreak.

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. There are currently more than 50 sites scheduled through June 5. Many of the sites are free, including the ones marked "DHEC" on the online list. [Click here for a list of all mobile testing locations]

There are no sites currently scheduled for Horry County, but Coastal Carolina University said it plans to host a testing site in June.

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

As of Monday morning, 3,792 of South Carolina's hospital beds were free, and 6,481 were in use, putting the state's bed capacity at 63 percent. Of the beds in use, 412 were occupied by patients who have tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19. Horry County's hospital bed capacity was at 67.5 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.]

COVID-19 Hartsville testing 3

Workers run 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

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