June 10, 2020 — 4:00 pm
Over the last several weeks, Governor Henry McMaster lifted many of the restrictions that were put into place earlier this year to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s “Home or Work Order” was repealed on May 4, 2020; since that time, most restaurants, businesses, amenities and attractions have been permitted to reopen across the state.
As our lives begin to resume some sense of “normalcy,” it’s easy to assume that the worst is behind us. However, recent data from the SCDHEC indicates a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state over the last few weeks.
At the time the Governor’s “Home or Work Order” was repealed, the state had confirmed approximately 164 new cases per day, on average, over the preceding 7-day period. This number remained relatively flat during the two-weeks following repeal. In recent weeks, however, the number of confirmed cases has risen dramatically. As of June 9, the state had experienced an average of more than 400 new cases per day over the preceding 7 days, an increase of nearly 250%. [See Chart Below]
During a countywide conference call on Wed. June 10, representatives from SCDHEC indicated that a portion of this increase can be attributed to higher testing rates across the state. However, SCDHEC also noted an increase in community spread resulting from reduced social distancing. Dr. Katie Richardson of SCDHEC characterized this increase as “alarming” and noted that the growth rate for new cases in the state of South Carolina is currently the fourth highest in the country.
As we move forward into the summer months, the town reminds everyone – residents, property owners, visitors and businesses – to remain vigilant and adhere to the following recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, avoid of touching your face and mouth, and avoid shaking hands with others.
- Social Distancing: Maintain at least six feet of separation between yourself and others.
- Travel: Avoid unnecessary travel, especially to areas of high concentrations of cases of infection.
- Limit Contact with the Sick and Elderly: Cease visits to nursing homes and other extended care facilities, except in the case of end-of-life circumstances.
- Wear a Face Covering or Mask: The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings or masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
State Health Agencies Issue Joint Statement
On Tuesday, June 9, SCDHEC, the S.C. Hospital Association (SCHA), S.C. Medical Association (SCMA) and S.C. Office of Rural Health (SCORH), issued the following joint statement:
“DHEC, SCHA, SCMA and SCORH have come together to strongly urge all South Carolinians to actively help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of our fellow residents by practicing physical social distancing and properly using face masks.
There is rapidly growing medical evidence that the use of face masks along with social distancing can greatly reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in public spaces and places where people at higher risk of severe illness and death from this virus are likely to be present. We must all commit to wearing face masks in public spaces — if we all wear them, we’ll all be protected.
Since the beginning of this public health crisis, our organizations jointly committed to protect the health and welfare of all South Carolinians throughout this pandemic. We’re calling on you for your continued help.
Please join the leaders and staff of DHEC, SCHA, SCMA and SCORH and the physicians and hospital systems we represent in protecting the lives of all South Carolinians by wearing face masks in confined public settings and maintaining at least six feet between those who are not members of your household.
Together, we can turn the tide on the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives in South Carolina.”
This joint statement follows recently updated guidance from the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) that clearly emphasizes the importance of face masks and social distancing in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Update on Town Events
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, several events and activities within the town have been cancelled or rescheduled:
- Disaster Awareness Day: The annual Kiawah-Seabrook Disaster Awareness Day event, which was scheduled for June 11 at the Kiawah Conference Center, has been cancelled.
- Fourth of July Fireworks: The Fourth of July fireworks display, held annually at the Seabrook Island Club and sponsored by the Town of Seabrook Island, has been cancelled.
- Kick It at Bohicket: The Bohicket Marina Merchants Association has confirmed that this year’s Kick It at Bohicket events, held every Tuesday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, have been cancelled.
- Free Shredding Event: The town’s spring shredding event, which was originally scheduled for April at Town Hall, has been rescheduled to July 17 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
- Bohicket Invitational Billfish Tournament: The Bohicket Invitational Billfish Tournament, which was scheduled to take place May 6-9 at Bohicket Marina, has been rescheduled to July 29-August 1.
Social Distancing on the Beach
The beaches of Seabrook Island remain open for recreational activities. When visiting the beach, beachgoers are reminded that groups of more than 10 individuals are currently prohibited. All individuals, regardless of whether visiting the beach alone or in a group, should practice “social distancing” by maintaining a minimum separation of 6 feet from others. The town’s beach patrol and code enforcement officers are authorized to enforce these requirements and may order the dispersal of large groups. Violators are also subject to fines of up to $500.00 per day (plus state assessments and surcharges) upon conviction.
Seabrook Island Town Hall is Open to the Public
Seabrook Island Town Hall reopened to the public for regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm) Mon. May 18. To maintain social distancing, no more than two customers will be allowed inside the building at a time. Public access will be limited to the lobby area only and public restrooms will remain closed. The town has implemented enhanced cleaning practices; however, visitors are encouraged to wear masks and gloves for their own protection. All public meetings – including Town Council, board, commission and committee meetings – will continue to be held “virtually” for the foreseeable future.
The town encourages residents, property owners, business owners and contractors to continue using “virtual services” to the greatest extent possible. For assistance during normal operating hours, please contact us by phone at (843) 768-9121 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For your convenience, the town has also located a drop box on the front porch at Town Hall.
For general questions about COVID-19, please contact the SCDHEC Care Line at (855) 472-3432. Staff will be available to answer calls from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm seven days a week.
For the most reliable information about COVID-19, including what to do if you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms, residents are strongly encouraged to visit official resources, including the SCDHEC and CDC websites.
Official updates from the Town of Seabrook Island will continue to be posted on the following channels:
- Town WEBSITE: www.townofseabrookisland.org
- Town TWITTER feed: www.twitter.com/seabrookislnd87
- Town FACEBOOK page: www.facebook.com/townofseabrookisland
Property owners and managers with rental guests should forward this information to their rental guests. Owners and managers of commercial establishments are also encouraged to share this information with their employees.
-Submitted by Joseph M. Cronin
Town of Seabrook Island