Essential reporting in volatile times.

Not a Subscriber yet? Click here to take advantage of All access digital limited time offer $5.99 per month EZ Pay.

Interested in Donating? Click #ISupportLocal for more information on supporting local journalism.

After at least three individuals in Kanawha County from three separate groups tested positive for COVID-19 this week following trips to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is urging anyone who has recently traveled to the vacation spot to get tested for the virus immediately.

Dr. Sherri Young, health officer at KCHD, said people needing to be tested can call the health department and make an appointment, or come to the health department, which will be open Friday.

“A lot of people have been to Myrtle Beach, and really anyone who has been in Horry County should get tested,” Young said at Thursday’s KCHD board meeting.

Young said it’s estimated that more than 50 people are deemed at-risk to contract the virus related to the Myrtle Beach cases. There was also one other travel-related case this week from someone who recently traveled to Virginia, Young said.

“It’s not only Myrtle Beach ... we may be seeing hot spots [for COVID-19] in places we did not previously anticipate,” Young said. “As we reopen, we are seeing clusters of outbreaks, and even though it may not be happening in our community, it’s affecting our community and our community deserves to be safe ... please come in, please get tested.”

If people are looking at traveling or planning vacations, Young said they should be cognizant of what the pandemic looks like in the places they want to go.

They should consider how many cases are in the area, how much testing is being done and what policies are being enforced to limit the spread of the virus.

“Still wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands,” Young said. “When it comes to those decisions, it’s up to the family to consider if they’d be comfortable with the risk and go from there.”

As of late Thursday evening, there were 260 cases of COVID-19 in Kanawha County.

Young announced Thursday that KCHD will be hosting at least two more drive-thru testing events in the county in coming weeks.

The first will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, at Sissonville High School, and the second will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, at the Schoenbaum Center in Charleston.

Young also said KCHD is starting to work more with local faith groups to bring testing to them as at least six churches across the state have seen outbreaks among their congregants.

Reach Caity Coyne at, 304-348-7939 or follow @CaityCoyne on Twitter.