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May 13, 2020

Mobile Sites Expand COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Last week state officials announced a plan to significantly expand access to COVID-19 testing in South Carolina, and this week we saw that plan take action with the deployment of multiple mobile pop-up testing sites throughout the state. DHEC expects to expand testing to 2% of the state’s population in each of the next two months, which will increase testing to 110,000 tests per month, or 220,000 in May and June combined.

The populations targeted for testing include all the state’s nursing home residents and staff, jails, prisons, group homes and both rural and urban areas at high risk for COVID-19. DHEC will perform the testing effort in collaboration with hospitals, lawmakers, community organizations and other healthcare providers. Health systems like MUSC Health and Prisma Health have set up free community testing and McLeod Health has announced free mobile testing in rural Clarendon County. As hospitals continue to partner with DHEC and other organizations to expand testing capacity, South Carolinians will have more convenient access to COVID-19 testing sites.

In order to track all of the mobile testing sites becoming available in South Carolina, DHEC has launched a new COVID-19 mobile testing clinic webpage to share information about upcoming testing events. It provides real-time information to help you locate where free testing is happening right now, in your community. Mobile testing clinics will be updated to the agency’s new page as they are confirmed.

Expanded testing availability means an increased need for contact tracers to track the spread of the virus and help prevent outbreaks. DHEC has set a goal of increasing their total number of contact tracers to 1,000 by June. Currently, DHEC can investigate up to 3,450 contacts per day for COVID-19 and they are scaling up their number of contact tracers in anticipation of increased testing availability.