MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – The coronavirus is rising in Horry County, which saw its most confirmed cases in a single day in nearly five months.
It was a lot quieter on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront Wednesday than it was during the Grand Strand’s first COVID-19 surge at the height of tourist season.
The virus’s spread is not as high as it after summertime holidays, but it’s trending in that direction after Thanksgiving.
“We’ve seen spikes after those, especially after July 4th, if you recall, and we’re really not surprised,” said Dr. Raul Richardson, chief medical officer at Conway Medical Center. “We hoped this wouldn’t happen, but my fear is yes, this is definitely happening.”
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported 126 confirmed and 14 probable cases in Horry County on Wednesday. That’s the highest number of confirmed cases in a single day since July 20.
Dr. Richardson says Conway Medical Center has started to see a higher positive test rate.
“Fortunately, we haven’t seen a huge increase in our admitted COVID patients in the last about four weeks, but to be quite frank, we have been staying within a tight range and that range has drifted up slightly,” he said.
The positive test rate is rising statewide too. DHEC says 21.6% of coronavirus tests came back positive Wednesday.
Horry County’s seven-day average is about 16.6%, which is well above the World Health Organization’s recommended 5%.
“In medical terms, that is an astronomical high number and so, it’s very concerning, considering the fact that it hadn’t been that long ago we were basically near single digits,” Dr. Richardson said.
Dr. Richardson also says the positive test rate rising again is a problem because health officials can’t accurately see how much the virus is spreading.
“Fortunately, a lot of these people will do fine, but there is a number who will not do fine,” he said. “Any time you increase the pool, you increase the number of positives, you are going to increase the number of people who will not do fine.”
The number of people who have died lags behind case results, but the week of Nov. 21 was the deadliest in Horry County in about three months. That was the decline of our summer surge.
DHEC reported 13 people died of COVID-19 on the week of Nov. 21, compared to 14 people on the week of Aug. 15.