COVID-19 Update

SCDHEC announced Wednesday that there were 577 new confirmed cases, and two new probable cases of COVID-19, and ten confirmed deaths.

Horry County was home to 120 of the 577 new cases, and one of the 10 additional deaths reported. 

South Carolina now has 20,551 cases of COVID-19 with 617 deaths, and zero probable deaths.

Horry County has 1,417 cases and 35 deaths.

This week, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is beginning to report probable COVID-19 cases and probable deaths, and S.C. is the 23rd state in the country to take this CDC recommendation to report this information, according to today's SCDHEC release.

A confirmed case is an individual who has had a positive swab test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive viral test (PCR or molecular test) alone is enough to classify a confirmed case, the release said.

A probable case is someone who has not had the viral test performed, but has epidemiological and clinical evidence of infection. A confirmed death is someone whose death is related to COVID-19 who tested positive for it, and a probable death is someone whose death certificate lists COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as cause of death or significant condition contributing to death, but who did not have a viral test performed.

Click here for more information about probable cases and deaths.

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 13.1 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.

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 Wednesday, Horry County's hospital bed capacity was at 81 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 8,704 cases of COVID-19 and with 142,793 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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