Lack of testing in Horry County raises concerns for Grand Strand leaders

Lack of testing in Horry County raises concerns for Grand Strand leaders

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control announced there will be several new mobile sites across the state, but none are in Horry County.

Starting Monday, mobile testing sites were put in Charleston, Clarendon, Edgefield, Florence, Greenville, Lee, Richland, Saluda and Williamsburg counties.

The move has raised concerns among city and county leaders, especially Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune.

Local leaders said it would make more sense to do more testing in Horry County since it has so many tourists coming in and out of the Grand Strand.

“I’m concerned because we won’t have a way to measure what the spread of this virus could possibly be – and hopefully it won’t be at all – but it is a concern," Bethune said.

Bethune worries a lack of data will lead to uncertainty. She’s also worried about a potential second spike in cases during tourist season.

“It upsets me from the standpoint of, I feel like we have so much to lose in Horry County if we start to see another spike," she said.

Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught is also confused as to why there isn’t more testing in Horry County.

“I don’t understand why that’s the case, especially given our status as such a tourist destination," Vaught said.

However, Vaught ultimately believes more testing wouldn’t change much.

“We had 18 deaths now in 45 days out of about 350,000 permanent residents? So I don’t see how testing would’ve made a lot of difference to improve those numbers," Vaught said.

DHEC also reports that there are more than 260 cases of COVID-19 in Horry County, but it estimates that there are 1,609 cases in the county, but without the testing, there is no way to tell for sure.

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