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A Blu Med tent system has been erected at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center to screen and test patients for Covid 19, the coronavirus. Patients who are presenting symptoms of the virus will be screened and determined if testing is required. If the patient is tested for the virus, he or she is sent home from the tent to self isolate while the patient awaits the results from DHEC unless the symptoms require them to be admitted to the hospital. The average length of stay in the tent is expected to be about two hours, a hospital spokesperson said, and no one will be housed in the tent system. The tent system can hold up to 30 patients for screening and there property on the hospital grounds to expand and erect more tents. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday announced 103 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the number of patients in South Carolina to 298 cases in 34 counties.

Five new cases are from Horry County, bringing the local total up to 16 cases.

We recognize the hardships that are facing many South Carolinians as we continue to respond to this ongoing public health event,” said DHEC physician Dr. Brannon Traxler. “We encourage the public to focus on things that each of us can do to limit the spread of illness by washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough, and practicing social distancing."

 So far, officials have reported five deaths in South Carolina connected to COVID-19.

“Everyone copes with stress differently, so please be thoughtful of how others are feeling during this time,” said Traxler. “It is also important for all of us, especially those of us who are most vulnerable to getting sick from the virus, to protect our mental and emotional health.”

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has recently prohibited dine-in service at bars and restaurants in the state through the end of the month, though he is allowing eateries to sell sealed containers of beer and wine to customers, who can pick up the beverages through curbside or "to-go" orders.

Additionally, the state's new income tax deadline is July 15.

The governor is also asking construction workers to donate any personal protective equipment they can spare such as respirator masks to healthcare personnel and state agencies in need.

McMaster has directed the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and other police agencies in the state to disperse crowds gathered on South Carolina beaches. People can still visit the beach, but are told to practice social distancing. Unless authorized or in their homes, individuals are instructed not to congregate in groups of three or more and follow an officer's order if asked to disperse. An offender could be charged with a misdemeanor.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused public facilities to close, schools and universities to move online, events to be cancelled and residents to stockpile supplies in preparation for long stretches indoors, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to practice social distancing, avoid public gatherings of more than 10 people and restrict travel.

Bartenders, servers and other hourly workers have been hit hard as filings for unemployment have skyrocketed, and McMaster said during a press conference earlier this week that he would expedite the approval process for unemployment benefits.

Horry County Schools has started a program to deliver food to kids who used to get lunch at the cafeteria before the pandemic forced the district to send students home.

Hospitals have imposed stringent visitor restrictions, and McMaster said DHEC would temporarily suspend certificate of need requirements to allow hospitals to add more hospital beds without going through a long, arduous approval process.

The governor on Friday said non-essential state employees must work from home, and department heads are in charge of determining which employees must come into the office.

Most local governments have declared localized states of emergencies to make them eligible for federal dollars in the aftermath of the virus’ spread.

COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December, but China didn’t confirm its existence until January. The virus reached America in late January. The disease mainly targets the respiratory system, and while the virus can still hospitalize young people, older people with weaker immune systems are more susceptible and have a higher mortality rate.

CDC officials have said the virus has an average incubation period of five days. Some cases can last for several weeks. 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 encourages people to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching their face and regularly clean high-use personal items. Also, individuals are asked to avoid contact with people who are sick, not share their personal items and clean frequently-touched surfaces. Those who are ill are asked to stay home from work, school and public events.

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(1) comment

JerryNYC

It would be nice if they would say where these cases are located.

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