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Ky. health officials issue advisory for Myrtle Beach travelers

The state Department for Public Health issued an advisory on Thursday for Kentucky residents who have traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over the past two weeks, due to an outbreak of the coronavirus.

This 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 corresponding increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

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 the coronavirus. 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.

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack warned, “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.”

“Please avoid contact with those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly and anyone with significant medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease.”

He says recent travelers to Myrtle Beach should watch for a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath or breathing difficulty and a loss of smell or taste

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

Public Health officials say concerns are not just limited to Myrtle Beach travel.

Several other 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 handwashing.