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Starting Sunday at 7 a.m., Grand Strand Hospital will no longer allow any visitors under 18 or over 69 to enter the hospital except under exceptional circumstances requiring pre-approval. 

The hospital made the announcement Saturday afternoon.

“While we don’t have any patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, we continue to evaluate our efforts to protect our patients, our staff and our community," said Chief Nursing Officer Tiffany Keys in a statement included with the news release "With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to limit visitors in order to protect our most vulnerable and prevent the potential spread of any illness in our facilities."

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has an average incubation period of five days, but in many cases can be much longer; up to several weeks. 

Covid-19 mainly affects the respiratory system, and doesn't pose a major threat to those who are young and healthy. But younger populations with healthy immune systems can still carry and spread the disease to seniors who are much more vulnerable. 

Anyone outside of the 18-69 year-old age range is not allowed in the facility unless they require care, and a government-issued identification will be required at the time of screening to verify age, the hospital said. 

Anyone staying at the hospital for Covid-19 testing may not have any visitors until their test is confirmed negative by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

While there are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Horry County as of Saturday, S.C. DHEC is investigating 19 cases, although not all of them have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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