The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is helping to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 by deploying rapid-testing devices and testing supplies to areas of the state where testing for the virus may be limited.
The Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid-response test recently received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test specimens for COVID-19, and South Carolina received 15 of the devices from U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DHEC deployed the devices and a limited amount of testing supplies to 15 health care facilities across the state last week, and today, the agency is distributing additional testing supplies to those facilities. The rapid-test devices, which can provide COVID-19 specimen results in 15-20 minutes, are in high demand around the country.
“This specialized technology will help us increase testing for those who are most susceptible to this disease and who live in areas of our state where access to COVID-19 testing isn’t easily accessible,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, DHEC’s Director of Public Health. “We wish every health care facility in the state could be provided with these new instruments, but until then, we’ve prioritized their distribution to the places where we hope they can have the biggest and best impact for South Carolinians.”
The rapid-response testing machines and supplies have been distributed to:
• Kershaw Health (Kershaw County)
• Self Regional Healthcare (Greenwood County)
• Piedmont Medical Center (York County)
• Regional Medical Center: Orangeburg Hospital (Orangeburg County)
• Bon Secours Health System (Greenville County)
• AnMed Health (Anderson County)
• Aiken Regional Medical Center (Aiken County)
• McCleod Health Clarendon (Clarendon County)
• Spartanburg Regional Healthcare (Spartanburg County)
• Coastal Carolina Hospital (Jasper County)
• MUSC Health Marion (Marion County)
• Williamsburg Regional Hospital (Williamsburg County)
• Lexington Medical Center (Lexington County)
• Al Cannon Detention Center (Charleston County)
• S.C. Department of Corrections
DHEC considered several factors in determining where to send these initial rapid-test devices, including regions with high numbers of positive cases; regions with rates above the state average for underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension and chronic diseases; and a facility’s capacity to use the machines to expand testing to rural communities.
The devices use the same type of nasopharyngeal specimen, or nose swab, as the traditional testing. A health care provider collects the patient’s specimen, enters the specimen into the device, and results are provided in 15-20 minutes.
DHEC has requested more of the rapid-test devices and additional testing supplies but no specific timeline has been provided on when to expect a next shipment.
For the latest information on COVID-19 in South Carolina, visit www.scdhec.gov/COVID19.