COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – South Carolina still ranks pretty low for the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity. There’s been improvement since the first outbreak of the virus, but a special group of lawmakers wants to set those goals even higher.

Testing 10% of the state’s population for COVID-19 each month is just one suggestion the group is putting on the table to help enhance the state’s testing capacity.

About 5% of the state’s population is tested each month for COVID-19. However, health officials and lawmakers say the state needs to be testing more.

Senator Tom Davis, chairman of the Senate COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing Committee, explained, “That 10% figure in a month is what the best medical science indicates is the best way to have mitigation strategies for the virus.”

That’s just one recommendation the committee is making to improve the state’s testing.
Members want to also dedicate at least $60 million to expand testing services and introduce saliva COVID-19 tests.

“It’s less expensive. It’s easier to take the test. You don’t have to have qualified medical professionals. The turn around is quicker. It has less accuracy, but that’s off set by expanding testing capacity,” Sen. Davis added.

The committee wants to also make sure hot spots and populations most at risk for the virus get adequate testing as the state expands.

Senator Gerald Malloy expressed the need to make sure testing is spread out and that there is a focus on those vulnerable demographics.

“The problem is the disparity in the healthcare we have gotten from people who are suffering from diabetes and these issues and unfortunately a lot of them are African American and they’re dying.”

The committee hasn’t tackled the contact tracing yet, but is planning to have a hearing soon to talk about apps and different technologies the state can use to improve its tracing.