9 Kentuckians return from Myrtle Beach with virus, Beshear warns against traveling to ‘hot spots’

9 Kentuckians return from Myrtle Beach with virus, Beshear warns against traveling to ‘hot spots’
A sign in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2020, asks people to maintain social distancing on the beach. People are flocking to South Carolina's beaches for vacation after being cooped up by COVID-19 for months. But the virus is taking no vacation as the state has rocketed into the top five in the country in cases divided by population. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins) (Source: Jeffrey Collins)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear warned Wednesday against traveling to vacation destinations out of state as several parts of the country report case spikes and hospital bed shortages.

The governor and Kentucky Health Commissioner Steven Stack, MD, highlighted Myrtle Beach as an example -- both of the dangers of traveling as well as the precariousness of any perceived victory over the virus.

Myrtle Beach, according to Stack, reopened May 15 with low case numbers. But since then several other states, including Ohio and West Virginia, have since identified clusters of vacationers returning from Myrtle Beach with confirmed cases of the virus.

Related | Over a dozen Ohio students test positive for COVID-19 after Myrtle Beach trip, according to health officials

Kentucky joined those states in the middle of June.

Stack reports 12 Kentuckians returned from a vacation at Myrtle Beach June 13, and 9 of them tested positive for COVID-19. Their symptoms started four days after their return.

More recently, a second so-called ‘cluster’ of Kentuckians returned from Myrtle Beach, and another person in that cluster tested positive.

“I have to continue to urge and beg folks to be careful,” Stack said. “It is not the time to be cavalier. The fastest way we can create a problem for ourselves is to ignore guidance on wearing masks and practice proper hand hygiene. "

As for Kentucky, Beshear says it remains in the “manageable phase” of the pandemic, with case numbers continuing to plateau (though they are no longer declining as they had been in late May.)

The governor reported 229 new cases Wednesday. Some 335 Kentuckians are currently hospitalized with the virus and 79 are in the ICU. One new death was also reported for a total of 539.

Kentucky may be plateauing as a whole, but the governor sounded the alarm on Greater Cincinnati.

“We are seeing some disturbing numbers in the Cincinnati area,” Beshear said.

In some areas of Northern Kentucky, the governor says he’s seen a 50 percent increase in COVID-19 cases.

An additional testing location in Kenton County will be announced soon.

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