Myrtle Beach COVID testing

Tidelands Health hosted a free COVID-19 testing event at Myrtle Beach Pelicans Stadium in late May. Photo by Christian Boschult 

Horry County led the state in the number new cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday. 

Horry County was home to 86 of the 595 new cases, and none of the five additional deaths reported. 

South Carolina now has 19,990 case of COVID-19 with 607 deaths. 

Horry County has 1,297 cases and 34 deaths. 

Tuesday was one of the biggest single-day increases for the county. Only June 12, 13 and 14 saw higher case totals. 

DHEC officials have pointed to an increase in tourism and and increase in community spread as likely causes for the recent spike in cases in Horry County and statewide, as too few people practice social distancing or wear a mask in public. 

Testing alone can't explain the increase, because even as the state does more tests, the percentage of those tests coming back positive keeps going up. Monday's percent-positive rate was 13.7 percent.

For most of the past week, the percentage of tests that come back positive has been above the 10 percent threshold set by the CDC for determining if more testing is necessary. 

According to DHEC, if the percent of tests coming back positive is low (under the 10 percent threshold) testing is adequate, but if the percent positive is higher, it indicates that more testing is needed to keep up with the spread of the disease. 

Despite a long list of free mobile clinics scheduled throughout the state, the percent of tests coming back positive has regularly been above the 10 percent threshold.

But DHEC officials have made it clear that at this point, wearing masks, social distancing and staying home when feeling sick are absolutely critical to slowing the spread.

As of Tuesday, Horry County's hospital bed capacity was at 80 percent. Different local hospitals have said they normally operate at anywhere from 78 percent capacity up to close to 100 percent, depending on the hospital. 

Accounting for undiagnosed cases, DHEC believes Horry County could have 9,264 cases of COVID-19 and with 142,786 cases statewide. 

Here are some upcoming testing events in our area: 

• June 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. McLeod Health, 3207 Casey Street, Loris

• June 19, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Inlet Square Mall, 10125 Highway 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet

• June 24, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital, 100 Water Grande Boulevard, Little River

• June 26, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Coastal Carolina University, 100 Chanticleer Drive, Conway

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