They Went To Myrtle Beach — And Brought Back COVID To Roanoke
By Arianna Coghill
June 24, 2020

Twenty-seven people in the Roanoke area have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, over the past two weeks, the Virginia Health Department reported.

Dr. Molly O’Dell is leading the pandemic response for the Roanoke and Allegheny Health Districts, and said Myrtle Beach was a clear hotspot for coronavirus cases, and asked Virginians to self-quarantine for two weeks after returning back to the state.

Myrtle Beach has seen a spike in cases as the residents begin to transition back to their normal lifestyles. The VDH recommends that anyone who has been to that area to self-quarantine for two weeks. 

“Those coming home with the virus are both young and old,” O’Dell said. “They include recent high school graduates travelling as groups, attendees of bachelor parties and members of families on traditional summer vacations.”

“People have become weary with the instructions on how to avoid being sick, which is most unfortunate,” O’Dell told the Roanoke Times. Health officials predict cases outside of Virginia will increase, leading to worries that vacationers will return to the state and spread the virus further.

Virginia’s “Phase 3” reopening is scheduled to begin on July 1, increasing the cap for social gatherings from 50 to 250 people and allowing restaurants and retailers to operate at full capacity.

READ MORE: We Finally Know When Virginia Could Enter Phase Three

Officials have counted seven current outbreaks in Virginia. Four happened in restaurants, two in long-term care facilities and one at a construction site. An outbreak is defined by two or more infections linked to an initial case without any other means of exposure. 

“We are definitely continuing to see an uphill climb and I will say the climb is a little steeper,” said O’Dell in a Tuesday teleconference. 

Currently, there are 59,514 reported cases of coronavirus in the state, an increase of 520 since Tuesday with 5,955 people who have been hospitalized and 1,661 people who have died due to the virus. 

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