MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – So many people tested positive for coronavirus after trips to Myrtle Beach, the Preston County, West Virginia Health Department had to get help from the state and other county health departments.

Twenty-eight “young people” in Preston County, ranging in age from 17-21, have tested positive. “The thing they all have in common is they were in Myrtle Beach the week before last and that they were part of a larger group that gathered together while they were there,” said Preston County Health Department administrator VJ Davis.

Those young people have already sickened at least two people, the health department says, and they’re linked to another nine “probable” cases.  

“It becomes very difficult because the thing you find out is there’s a lot of 17- and 18-year-olds who have a lot of contacts,” Davis said. Contact tracers have identified approximately 150 contacts in Preston County and surrounding counties. “So we have to find out who those people are, call them, talk to them, interview them, you know, let them know they need to quarantine for a certain amount of time because they’ve had close contact with someone who’s tested positive.”

“Our health department is a very small health department. We only have five full-time employees so all five of us have been very busy with it,” Davis told News13. The state health department and other counties have assisted with contact tracing.

Investigators have not linked the outbreak to a specific place in Myrtle Beach. “To trace it back to where they contracted it, that’s pretty hard to do and at this point in time we’re pretty busy just trying to identify people they’ve had contact with to try to stop the spread here at this point, “ said Davis.