The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday announced 147 new cases of COVID-19, including one in Horry County, bringing the state's total up to 1,700 cases across all 46 counties.
The agency also announced three new deaths, none in Horry County. The state now has 34 deaths.
"If we all take seriously our individual obligations to help prevent spread of the disease, we have the potential to save lives,” said DHEC medical consultant Dr. Michael Kacka. “Our sympathies are with the friends and family of these three individuals, and with all the loved ones who’ve lost someone to this disease."
Horry County now has 51 cases, and four deaths.
"Know that we are all in this together and at some point, many of us will likely be exposed to the virus," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell during a press conference Friday.
DHEC on Friday night, following S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster's direction, released data on where COVID-19 cases were by zip code. DHEC initially rolled out the patient location information last Friday, but by Tuesday had stopped reporting the number of cases in each zip code, and instead reported just the zip codes with any confirmed cases. Officials said at the time that they feared people wouldn't protect themselves and follow DHEC guidance if they knew their neighborhood had no confirmed cases.
The zip code with the largest concentration, 9 cases, was 29576, which runs between Murrells Inlet, Garden City and Burgess.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, has changed the landscape of South Carolina’s society.
McMaster has closed public boat ramps, public access to public beaches and those non-essential businesses that serve as likely breeding grounds for the virus. He's ordered all bars and restaurants closed to dine-in customers, although take-out is permitted.
Groups of more than three people can be dispersed by law enforcement. Hospitals no longer allow visitors. Funerals are no longer the large public gatherings they once were.
Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach Surfside Beach and Horry County have all banned short-term rentals through April, and McMaster is mandating all new visitors to South Carolina from COVID-19 hotspots quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival.
Non-essential state employees are working from home, and schools and universities all over the state have moved to an online format. The state’s income tax deadline has been extended to July 15.
Three weeks weeks ago, Horry County had 112 people file for unemployment. The week the governor shut down the bars and restaurants, the county led the state in unemployment applications with more than 5,200 people filing for benefits. Horry County again led the state last week as 9,682 people filed for benefits. Statewide, nearly 65,000 filed for benefits last week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms can appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure, and some people are a-symptomatic. That means younger healthy people without severe symptoms can still transfer the virus to more susceptible populations who might require a hospital stay to survive.
DHEC officials said people who show symptoms can still spread the disease even before symptoms are noticeable.
The CDC encourages people to restrict their travel, practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap, avoid touching their face and regularly clean high-use personal items, in order to slow the spread of the virus.