KDPH: Recent Myrtle Beach visitors at heightened COVID-19 risk

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Department for Public Health on Thursday issued an advisory for Kentucky residents who have traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over the past two weeks. The guidance follows a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases that began after Myrtle Beach hotels reopened May 15.

Access to state attractions opened May 22, which was followed by a rise in positive COVID-19 cases, according to a news release from the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

Preston County, West Virginia, issued a health alert June 17 related to a cluster of COVID-19 cases noted in residents who recently had traveled to Myrtle Beach. A second cluster of cases in West Virginia was identified the following day.

In Kentucky, a similar situation arose when a group traveled to Myrtle Beach June 11, returning June 14. At least nine members of the party tested positive for COVID-19. Another cluster may be linked to a trip to Myrtle Beach the first week of June. An additional COVID-19-positive Kentucky resident was exposed during travel in mid-June to Myrtle Beach.

DPH advises Kentucky residents who have traveled to Myrtle Beach in the past two weeks to self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s Public Health commissioner, said, “If you or someone to whom you are close has been to Myrtle Beach in the past two weeks, please be aware that you have a good probability of having been exposed to the novel coronavirus.” He added, “Please avoid contact with those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly and anyone with significant medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease.”

A recent traveler to Myrtle Beach should watch for the following:

  • A fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath or breathing difficulty
  • Loss of smell or taste

If any of these symptoms are present, the person should get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

DPH leadership stresses that exposure to COVID-19 is not limited to Myrtle Beach.

Multiple states have reported a rise in COVID-19 cases, and the guidance should be applied more broadly, including social situations where people gathered in numbers of 10 or greater and in situations where people are not observing recommended precautions, including practicing social distancing and wearing a cloth mask when in public or in groups. Kentuckians should also practice thorough and frequent hand-washing.

For more information on Kentucky’s response to COVID-19 visit, kycovid19.ky.gov.

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