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Horry County’s first presumptive case of coronavirus reported at area hospital

Updated: Three cases total have since been confirmed today by state health officials. Read the latest story linked here.

The first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus was reported in Horry County but state health officials are still waiting to confirm the test results from the Centers for Disease Control. 

Several sources told the Myrtle Beach Post Saturday that one individual from the Carolina Forest area was tested for the virus by state health officials.

The test came back positive and was forwarded to the CDC for confirmation.

WMBF on Sunday reported the presumptive positive case, and that the patient is being cared for at the Grand Strand Medical Center:

“Before this patient tested positive, we had already started to screen all patients, visitors, colleagues and doctors as they enter the hospital. More than a week ago, we positioned supplies at all points of entry, so that any potential symptomatic patient who arrives can be properly masked and immediately isolated,” the spokesperson continued in response to an inquiry from WMBF News.

“We are also restricting who can come into the facility. This includes no visitors under 18 or over 69. We appreciate the understanding of our community as we do everything we can to keep our patients and team members safe. We will continue to reinforce infection prevention protocols and are working in partnership with SCDHEC and local and state agencies.” Grand Strand Health says.

There are now 19 cases reported in several South Carolina counties to have the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Horry County Council declared a localized state of emergency effective at noon Saturday to adopt emergency ordinances to meet public emergencies affecting life, health, safety or the property of the people in our area.

The declaration will remain in effect for 60 days unless sooner terminated by the resolution by the county council.

Three new cases were also reported this weekend in Beaufort County, two new cases from Kershaw County, and one new case from Lexington County.

“We are working closely with this extended care facility to immediately investigate possible exposures in an effort to mitigate any potential spread at this facility,” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist. “The facility is completely cooperative as we work through our contact investigation and staff are abiding by DHEC’s and CDC’s recommended actions for helping to protect this higher-risk population.”

In conjunction with Gov. McMaster’s state of emergency declaration, DHEC is restricting visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with the exception of end-of-life situations, to help better safeguard this vulnerable population against COVID-19.

“Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health,” Bell said. “This includes working to control spread and measures that best protect all individuals. We encourage the public to maintain their daily routines of protecting against illness by practicing good hygiene and handwashing, and individuals with signs of illness are asked to take seriously the recommendation to stay home from school and work and not attend public gatherings.”

People with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should call their healthcare provider.

If an individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, several healthcare systems are providing telehealth services so residents can be evaluated by a healthcare provider without having to leave their home.

If it’s determined an individual should be tested, they will be instructed where to go to be tested.

Individuals with minor illnesses are advised not to go to emergency rooms.

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