MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As Horry County saw its single-day record of coronavirus cases shattered Wednesday, at least six states are warning their residents about visiting Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach’s oceanfront was relatively quiet Wednesday due to a typical summer shower and thunderstorm, but it’s what you can’t see that’s concerning people living here or visiting.
“That’s why we’re taking precautions, wearing our facemasks and we have sanitizer,” said Dee Wineglass, who’s visiting from New York City on a family vacation. “We’re just taking it easy because we know how serious the pandemic is.”
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported 183 new cases in Horry County on Wednesday. That’s a new single-day high, topping Tuesday’s record of 133 cases.
According to DHEC’s numbers, Horry County’s seven-day average is about 131.43 cases per day. The daily rate has nearly tripled (196%) over the last three weeks and up about 858% from four weeks ago.
COVID-19 is also spreading far from the Grand Strand. Kentucky and West Virginia’s governors cautioned people about traveling to Myrtle Beach. They made the comments at news conferences, which streamed on their Facebook pages on Wednesday.
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“Myrtle Beach is one area that we are seeing causing outbreaks in other states and in Kentucky,” said Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky. “We need people to be really careful.”
Gov. Jim Justice, R-W.Va., says six more outbreaks have been linked to Myrtle Beach since Monday, with at least 72 confirmed cases in West Virginia believed to be from the Grand Strand.
“If you are thinking of going to Myrtle Beach, rethink what you are doing and everything,” Gov. Justice said. “The other thing is if you have been, go get tested.”
Belmont County, Ohio, health officials say 20 people were infected on a high school trip to Myrtle Beach. “We’re still having people think it’s a hoax,” said Rob Sproul, who’s Belmont County’s deputy health commissioner. “We still have people thinking they don’t need to wear a mask.”
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a joint travel advisory Wednesday, requiring anyone coming from nine states, including the Carolinas, to quarantine for 14 days.
“We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y. “We don’t want to see it go up, because a lot of people come into this region, and they could literally bring the infection with them.”
The tri-state area’s quarantine order for South Carolina visitors is the exact opposite of what happened at the end of March, when Gov. Henry McMaster ordered anyone from places like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to also quarantine for two weeks.
United Airlines announced Wednesday it’s temporarily suspending service at Myrtle Beach International Airport due to the pandemic. MYR says its number of passengers went up more than 400% in May, compared to April, but COVID-19 is also on the rise in the area.