200 Virginians with COVID-19 linked to Myrtle Beach area, health director says

Coronavirus

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – About 100 teenagers from a Virginia county near Washington D.C. have tested positive for the coronavirus after traveling to the Myrtle Beach area, according to Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department in Virginia.

Dr. Goodfriend said the teens were on a recent trip to the Myrtle Beach area and many shared the same house where they held big parties.

This comes a week after other states have issued a travel warning for Myrtle Beach and some states in the northeast have designated the area as a hotspot due to cases they believe were contracted here.

Dr. Goodfriend said he shared his concerns about the housing situation with Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen. Pedersen provided the following statement to WBTW:

“I have not counted them but we probably receive at least 75 emails each day advising us either to adopt a facemask requirement or to not adopt a facemask requirement.  Most, including Dr. Goodfriend’s are an expression of opinion and do not pose a question to be addressed.  I do not respond to these, but take their opinion under advisement.  Please note that is the purpose of the draft Executive Order released yesterday for Council’s consideration at Thursday’s meeting.”

Pedersen added, “the Doctor’s email details that ‘affected cases reported up to 50 people staying in single homes and parties involving hundreds of individuals.’  As you know we do not have many vacation homes here in the City.  I doubt that these 50 were staying within the City limits.”

The Virginia county is not issuing a formal travel advisory to the Myrtle Beach area, but Goodfriend said, “If asked, we are sharing the daily increase in numbers Myrtle Beach is reporting and emphasizing the importance of social distancing, face-covering and other personal protective measures.” 

Goodfriend says although the county cannot confirm it for sure, their understanding is 40 or more people shared a house at the beach and held parties of more than 100 people there. 

As Horry County has been seeing single-day records of coronavirus cases, at least six states are warning their residents about visiting Myrtle Beach. Belmont County, Ohio, health officials say 20 people were infected on a high school trip to Myrtle Beach. And West Virginia now has 72 cases of COVID-19 tied to people traveling to Myrtle Beach, according to the governor.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut issued a joint travel advisory last Wednesday, requiring anyone coming from nine states, including South Carolina, to quarantine for 14 days.

North Myrtle Beach is holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday to vote on a mask requirement. Myrtle Beach City Council will discuss on Thursday a draft of an executive order to require masks inside businesses. Horry County is not considering a mask mandate. And Gov. McMaster said he will not mandate one because it is not enforceable.

WBTW has asked Loudoun County health officials where specifically in the Myrtle Beach area the teens were staying, but has not heard back yet.

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