“It was a whirlwind”: ABC Columbia reporter describes being quarantined, tested for COVID-19
Tim Scott tests negative for coronavirus after two weeks in mandatory self quarantine
CAYCE, S.C. (WOLO) —Thousands of people have been tested for the coronavirus across South Carolina.
According to South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), 24,634 have been tested across the state as of Wednesday afternoon.
I was one of those 24,634 people, having been tested two weeks ago.
Three weeks ago, I was in the newsroom, getting ready to do a story. Out of nowhere, I started to feel sweaty and hot, while also having a slight shortness of breath and aches all over my body.
I took my temperature, but did not have a fever. As a precaution, I went home.
Shortly after I got home, I hopped on my computer and did a virtual screening through the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
The questions on the virtual screening were very thorough. Among other things, they asked about the severity of my symptoms and whether I traveled to any at-risk areas. Earlier that week, I had traveled to Kershaw County, and I told them about the feverish feeling, shortness of breath, and aches.
About an hour later, a physician sent me a note, saying I might be at risk of having coronavirus, and that I would need to be tested.
They also told me to stay at home for two weeks.
Three days later, MUSC gave me a call, telling me I would be tested later that week in Lancaster.
The test only took about 10 seconds, but was not very enjoyable. They put two long q-tips up each of my nostrils to collect a sample.
“We like to get as far to the back of your nose as we can, that’s where the most virus particles are, and we’re using this very precise technology, getting as much of those particles out as we can, and that’s why we do that, it’s just the most accurate and best place to get a true diagnosis,” said Dr. Terrence Steyer, the Chair of MUSC’s Family Medicine Department.
Due to a statewide backlog, I received my test results a few days later than I thought, but thankfully, I ended up testing negative.
For those waiting to get tested or eagerly awaiting their results, medical experts say it’s best to be patient.
“Try to isolate yourself from others as much as possible. Stay in a different room, but remain calm, know you’re going to get your results as quickly as we can possibly get them,” said Dr. Steyer.
Dr. Steyer said MUSC has recently started doing all of its tests in-house, a change from when they started sending samples to a private lab. With that change, Dr. Steyer says the time between collecting a sample and getting a test result could take an average of 35 hours.
As of Monday, 5,347 people have been tested at one of MUSC’s sample collection sites. According to MUSC, 321 people, including 41 members of their health care workforce, have tested positive for the virus.
DHEC says there are currently 2,552 cases of coronavirus in South Carolina, with 63 deaths.