White House COVID-19 report: Myrtle Beach area added to red zone for cases

CDC recommends masks in public settings

WASHINGTON (WMBF) – A White House report on the status of COVID-19 in South Carolina paints a grim picture as cases continue to surge in the state and across the country during the holiday season.

WMBF News requested the state report that is sent from the White House to the governor’s office. It is dated Dec. 6 with the latest information.

It shows that South Carolina is in the red zone for cases because there are 101 or more new cases per 100,000 population. The Palmetto State has the 39th highest rate in the country.

South Carolina also has the 24th highest positivity rate in the country at 10.1%.

The report takes a deeper look at which cities and counties in the state are now in the red zone. In the Nov. 29 report, Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach area were in the orange zone. But in the Dec. 6 report, the cities are now in the red zone.

Data from the Department of Health and Environmental Control between Nov. 29 – Dec. 6 shows the 29579 zip code, which is the Carolina Forest area, had the highest number of confirmed cases at 202. The 29526 zip code in Conway had 177 confirmed cases and the 29588 zip code in Socastee had 142 confirmed cases.

MORE INFORMATION | COVID-19 County-Level Data

The city of Florence and Bennettsville are also listed in the red zone.

As for counties, Horry, Florence, Darlington, Marlboro and Marion counties are in the red zone.

DHEC data shows there have been over 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases each day in Horry County since Dec. 2.

The report from the White House goes on to show that between Nov. 28 – Dec. 4, on average, 123 patients with confirmed COVID-19 and 99 patients with suspected COVID-19 were admitted each day to hospitals in South Carolina. This is a 27% increase in total hospital admissions.

“Despite the severity of this surge and the threat to the hospital systems, many state and local governments are not implementing the same mitigation policies that stemmed the tide of the summer surge; that must happen now,” the White House report states. “We are also seeing clear improvement in many European countries that implemented strong public and private mitigation but preserved schooling; the majority of the United States is not mitigating similarly.”

The White House report also discussed holiday gatherings and showed that if you are under 40 years old, you need to assume that you were infected with the coronavirus during Thanksgiving if visited with people who are not in your immediate household.

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The White House recommends that South Carolina conducts “aggressive impact testing of adults under 40 to rapidly identify those who became infected over Thanksgiving before they spread the virus to more vulnerable individuals, driving another round of increased hospitalizations and fatalities.”

The report also recommends that state leaders and health officials begin warning people about any gathering during the December holidays.

And as college and university students head off for their winter breaks, the White House suggests that schools begin planning to have mandatory weekly testing of all on and off-campus students.

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