COVID-19 BREAKDOWN: In-depth look at Horry County case numbers and how we got here

COVID-19 BREAKDOWN: In-depth look at Horry County case numbers and how we got here
(Source: WIS)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The summer months in Horry County saw an uptick in coronavirus cases, but new data from the Department of Health and Environmental Control may start to show a slight downward trend.

Coronavirus cases in Horry County went from an average of about seven new cases per day in May, to an average of about 142 new cases per day in July.

In May, the highest report of new cases came May 22 with 26 positive tests. DHEC reported no new cases twice that month, once on May 2 and another time May 20.

May 2020 coronavirus cases in Horry County
May 2020 coronavirus cases in Horry County (Source: WMBF News)

In June, the highest reported number climbed to 214 on June 27 and the lowest number of new cases was reported June 2 with 18 cases. June is also where we saw cases climbed past 100 in Horry County for the first time, with 101 new cases reported June 13.

June 2020 coronavirus cases in Horry County
June 2020 coronavirus cases in Horry County (Source: WMBF News)

And in July, we’ve seen new cases as high as 358 on July 4, and the lowest day with 50 cases on July 18, which, to compare, is 24 more cases than the highest day reported in May. For a while in July, Horry County saw new cases consistently above 100, and some days more than 200 new cases.

July 2020 coronavirus cases in Horry County
July 2020 coronavirus cases in Horry County (Source: WMBF News)

So far in August, the number of new cases ranges from 43-59 and the last time Horry County reported more than 100 new cases was back on July 28.

There's a similar trend statewide. In May, the highest report of new positive cases came around Memorial Day weekend, with 331 cases on May 29 and the lowest just a few days before that on May 25.

In June, cases ranged from the highest of 1,741 new cases June 30 to a low of 235 June 3.

Then in July, the highest day of newly reported cases came July 19 with 2,335 cases, and a low of 934, the only day in July with less than 1,000 new reported cases.

May - July coronavirus cases in Horry County and South Carolina
May - July coronavirus cases in Horry County and South Carolina (Source: WMBF News)

How we got here

The first reported coronavirus cases came March 6. DHEC reported one possible case in Kershaw County and one in Charleston County. When the pandemic first began, samples that tested positive at the state laboratory had to be confirmed by the CDC. At that time, DHEC said there was a low risk to the public and no evidence of community spread of the virus.

Two days later on March 8, DHEC reported the likelihood that community spread caused cases in Camden in Kershaw County.

Also in March, Governor Henry McMaster ordered schools to close and move online, limited the size of public gatherings and closed businesses and public beach accesses, all in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

Then on April 6, the governor issued his "home or work" order, which required South Carolinians to limit where they went outside of their homes to only essential businesses, essential activities or critical infrastructure operations.

As April went on, Governor McMaster issued his first executive order reopening part of the state, first allowing public boat ramps to reopen on April 16, then public beach accesses and retails stores on April 20.

The governor allowed the remaining businesses to reopen August 3. The same executive order put additional safety restrictions in place, including requiring masks at restaurants and government buildings.

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