Roanoke woman quarantines after returning from Myrtle Beach area

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 3:46 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - COVID-19 numbers are soaring in our hometowns ahead of Phase 3. Two of the biggest concerns include contact with other people as more businesses reopen and have more people inside, and travel to hot spots. There are at least 100 cases within the Roanoke-Alleghany Health District that are linked to travel to Myrtle Beach.

Anna Clark just returned to Roanoke from Surfside Beach, which is south of Myrtle, but still close by.

“We got there and it wasn’t considered a hot spot when we went,” Clark said. “And then when we got there, they’re like, oh it’s a hot spot, you need to quarantine, and we’re like okay.”

Even with signs up to remind beach patrons to practice social distancing, and word spreading that quarantine is recommended for visitors, there is still an uptick of cases linked with travel to Myrtle Beach.

“There must be an affinity between our valley and Myrtle Beach,” Dr. Molly O’Dell said.

According to O’Dell, the communicable disease director for the Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts, there are now over 100 cases linked to the South Carolina beach, which is more than the number of health care workers within our health districts that have been diagnosed with the virus.

“Since this morning we have 979 cases, 130 are new, which is a lot,” she said.

O’Dell explained the increase is from a myriad of factors - travel just one of them.

Travelers like Anna Clark are taking precautions.

“We had the idea to put up little stakes around our spot on the beach,” Clark described. “One to keep people away because of COVID.”

Clark, a Roanoke photographer, returned from Surfside Beach this past Friday. She’s moved her meetings from in-person to zoom, rescheduled some shoots and wants to remind folks that the pandemic isn’t over.

”You can’t control other people,” she said. “And I don’t think people should go to the beach and be like, stay away from me, but just be responsible.”

Responsibility is a key word that’s used frequently by health officials. Whether that means to just continue to follow the CDC guidelines of wearing a face covering, getting tested or remaining at home. The Roanoke-Alleghany region is looking at between 40 and 60 new cases each day now, which is double of what it was a few weeks ago.

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