SC health officials see ‘dramatic increase’ in COVID-19 testing ahead of Thanksgiving

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Governor Henry McMaster’s suggestion to ‘test before turkey’ seems to have gotten everyone’s attention.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said they have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people coming out to get tested.

Free, community testing sites across the state remained busy Tuesday afternoon. Farrah Harrison stopped by one in Columbia. She will be spending some time with a small group of family members Thursday.

She said she wanted to make sure she wasn’t putting anyone at risk while they celebrate Thanksgiving together. “It just gives me peace of mind I’m not bringing any harm or damage to my grandmother or anyone else in the family.”

Tameka Alicae also got tested during her lunch break Tuesday. “I don’t have any signs or symptoms but I just want to be 100% sure,” she said.

Alicae and Harrison were some of the thousands of South Carolinians testing before turkey. DHEC Midlands Regional Health Director Scott Thorpe said, “We’re seeing a two, three, four-fold increase in the number of people getting tested at our free community based testing sites.”

According to DHEC, some of the more popular testing sites are testing about 100 people every hour this week. Since last Friday, more than 53,000 test results have been reported to the state health department.

Thorpe said, “There are a lot of different options out there and we want to make this as fast and convenient as possible.”

He said testing is an effective tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19. When you take a test, you are taking steps to protect your family and community. Thorpe said, “It helps us understand where the disease is spreading. When we get test results on a daily basis, it is a snapshot of what’s going on at a given time. The more test results we get, the better that picture is.”

Thorpe and DHEC hope people ‘test after turkey’ as well.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 2.5 million COVID-19 tests have been administered in South Carolina.

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