As COVID-19 cases soar, Tidelands Health implores community to avoid large gatherings, celebrate Fourth of July safely
Amid a record-breaking surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Tidelands Health is imploring area residents and visitors to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday safely to slow the rapid spread of the virus and prevent health care resources from becoming overwhelmed.
Over the past two weeks, the number of COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized at Tidelands Health has jumped from three to 40 as the highly contagious virus has spread throughout the region. On Tuesday, 170 cases were reported in Horry County, which has been named a hot spot for COVID-19, and South Carolina recorded its highest daily total of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
“The Fourth of July weekend may prove pivotal in our efforts to slow the spread,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health. “If people don’t take precautions, the impact could be significant.”
Dr. Harmon says it’s imperative individuals avoid large gatherings, wear a face mask when around others not in their household, observe social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.
Although younger people are generally at lower risk for serious complications from COVID-19, they need to take the same precautions, Dr. Harmon said. Not only is it possible for younger adults to become seriously ill or die from the disease, they can also transmit the virus to family and friends who are more vulnerable.
Infections among younger people are on the rise in the region and across South Carolina. On Tuesday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported a 966 percent increase in COVID-19 cases among people ages 11-20 and a 413 percent increase among individuals 21-30. The statistics mirror a trend evident in the results of community testing conducted regionally by Tidelands Health in partnership with DHEC.
“Even if you don’t feel ill, it’s vital you take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because you could be infected and transmit the virus to others without realizing it,” Dr. Harmon said. “If we all do our part, we can get this situation under control, which will save lives and prevent health care resources from being overwhelmed like we’ve seen happen elsewhere.”
Dr. Harmon encourages people to strongly consider staying home to celebrate the Fourth of July with other members of the same household. If you leave to watch fireworks, stay in your vehicle. Individuals who are ill or who have tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home.
Community members can help limit the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face mask, avoiding large gatherings, observing social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene.