CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – State leaders are warning about the recent rise in coronavirus cases in several hotspots, including Horry County.
State epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell had a harsh warning during a news conference in West Columbia on Wednesday.
“Today, I am more concerned about COVID-19 in South Carolina than I ever have been before,” Dr. Bell said.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported one of the highest daily COVID-19 counts during the pandemic on Wednesday at 528 cases statewide.
Horry County also saw its largest single-day jump of 79 cases.
“It’s a tourist area,” said David Inabnit, who lives in Conway. “We have a lot of transient people and it’s going to go up and down. It’s not going to be a short-term thing. I think it’s going to be a long-term thing.”
As of Wednesday, the county is averaging about 44.4 cases per day over the last week. That number has more than tripled since June 3, when it was around 13.7 cases.
A heat map from DHEC shows what it officially declared: Horry County emerging as a hotspot over the last two weeks.
“It doesn’t take hard data to observe that many people across the state aren’t social distancing, aren’t avoiding group gatherings and aren’t using masks in public,” said Dr. Bell.
Gov. Henry McMaster also announced where he’s asking state lawmakers to send nearly $1 billion of CARES Act money for COVID-19 relief, which includes unemployment, public schools, governments, hospitals and colleges.
“It’s time, even in this situation when we still are faced with a deadly virus, we must accelerate our economy,” said Gov. McMaster.
Meanwhile in Conway, people waited hours for coronavirus tests as doctors try to see how much the virus has spread.
“Conway Medical Center is doing it and I live here,” Inabnit said. “I didn’t have to get a referral from a doctor and I thought, ‘What the heck?'”
Gov. McMaster also says he has no intention of closing any more businesses and that while mask wearing is important, he’s not mandating it.