DHEC addresses long test result turnaround times

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Young woman holding self testing self-administrated swab and medical tube for Coronavirus covid-19, before being self tested at home (Getty)

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–Covid cases continue to rise nationwide and in South Carolina. Meanwhile people here in the upstate are seeing lengthy wait times for results. DHEC officials say the CDC shortened isolation period has led to some frustration as many are waiting longer than that five day period for covid test results.

Courtney Beasley followed all the correct steps after coming into close contact with a covid-positive person, and then exhibiting symptoms.

“So I got tested last Wednesday, and today is Wednesday so it’s been a week and I am still waiting on my test results,” Beasley said.

She self-isolated for the five days recommended by the CDC before rejoining the world.”It’s been a little frustrating of course to not be able to know if I had covid or not, because I was experiencing symptoms I had just decided to stay home,” Beasley said.

DHEC Director of Public Health Dr. Brannon Traxler says they are aware of the delay in test turnaround time.

“You are correct that at this point we are seeing especially with the shortened isolation times down to five days that they could leave isolation before they get their test results,” Traxler said.

But, she says if you have symptoms you should get tested regardless of how long it may take to get your results.

“Because of the importance of notifying their contacts if they are positive and quarantining,” Traxler said.

She also says that isolation should start on the first day of symptoms. If on the fifth day you do not have a fever and haven’t used medication to reduce fever you can then be around others if you are masked for days six to ten.

Beasley says she understands the system is overwhelmed, but wishes there was more communication.

“It would be great if some type of communication could be happening from DHEC even if it was some sort of automation call or situation. Just some type of update,” Beasley said.   

But, relief may be on the way. DHEC has just received 100,000 at home test kits with another 500,000 on the way. Something that could ease the minds of those who continue to wait. 

“It’s just failing everyone and that’s the most frustrating part,” Beasley said.

DHEC says if you have not gotten test results within 72 hours you should call the testing call center for help. But, only leave one message, otherwise this will create even more of a backlog for officials to sort through.

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