LITTLE RIVER — Under mandatory quarantine due to exposure to three positive COVID-19 cases on their squad, photographs show a trio of Conway High School cheerleaders were participating in class at Gymnastics & More on Tuesday night, unbeknownst to the venue’s owner.
The three cheerleaders were supposed to be in quarantine until Nov. 26 after Horry County Schools announced that the cheerleading squad had three active cases, with the first confirmed on Nov. 12. The sidelining is a requirement of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The Conway squad includes 26 cheerleaders and 1 coach, all of whom are slated to return to school and extracurricular activities on Nov. 30, according to HCS.
The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach has chosen not to show the photo from Wednesday evening due to the subjects being minors.
“All individuals who have been deemed to have been in close contact (someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more) with this person and are required to stay home and quarantine, per SCDHEC regulations,” an HCS spokesperson said.
DHEC indicated that it provides guidance on the plan that individuals should plan to take once in quarantine, which includes getting tested for the virus and avoiding crowded places.
"Failure to adhere to this guidance puts others in the community at risk and disrupts other families and businesses who may be considered exposed if an individual in quarantine is found to be ill," DHEC told the Post and Courier Myrtle Beach.
According to Gymnastics & More owner Louie Liguori, the gym was unaware of anyone participating while under quarantine orders and would be taking subsequent action. Liguori indicated that there are signs posted around the venue that warn against participation if exposed to COVID-19 or ill, as well as temperature checks at the door, hand sanitizer readily available and equipment cleaned multiple times per day.
“If somebody doesn’t have a temperature, they don’t tell us, I don’t know how else we are supposed to be able to know,” said Liguori, who indicated that they don’t track what schools their students come from and therefore wouldn’t have knowledge of each person’s background.
Liguori indicated that DHEC has been actively involved with prior occasions of both contact tracing and potential exposure at the gym, with the business complying by communicating with the appropriate families.
“We are doing exactly what they advise us to do,” said Liguori, pointing to the longevity of Gymnastics & More — 27 years — as proof that they do right by their students, and subsequently safety.
According to DHEC, those who come in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19 should do the following:
- Stay home and avoid contact with others
- Do not go to work or school
- Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet)
- DHEC recommends doing these activities for at least 14 days after your last exposure to the person with COVID-19.
- DHEC also recommends that close contacts of COVID-19 cases be tested for COVID-19, even if they do not feel sick. As a close contact of a COVID-19 case, you should be tested no sooner than 7 days into your quarantine period.
HCS boasts 68 active cases of COVID-19, with 42 among students and 26 with staff. The total has jumped from 42 on Sunday.
HCS lists 98 current quarantined staffers, while it does not report student quarantine numbers.
Horry County in total is experiencing a significant rise in new daily COVID-19 cases, averaging 61.9 per day, with a 10-day average of 76.9. Both metrics are the highest the county has seen since July.