DHEC: ‘COVID-19 testing remains an essential tool’
DHEC suggests those out in the community regularly get tested once a month if not more
Columbia, SC. (WOLO)— More than 5 million COVID-19 tests have been performed in the state, as South Carolinians continue to do their part and follow the recommended actions for protecting public health during this ongoing pandemic.
Tuesday, public health officials announced that they are seeing more people getting tested for COVID-19 throughout the state. According to officials, this includes nearly 59 percent of people getting tested for the first time since November of 2020, while more than 73 percent of South Carolinians have now been tested more than one time.
Below is a list of the numbers released by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) showing the increase of testing they have recorded over the past three months.
- November 2020: 311,612 unique people tested and 725,039 total tests
- December 2020: 440,305 unique people tested and 1,003,182 total tests
- January 2021: 493,980 unique people tested and 1,256,144 total tests
South Carolina State Epidemiologist, Linda Bell says the battle in the fight against COVID-19 is not over, while the state is proud of the strides being made as people continue to do what’s best for those around them. She adds,
“Routine testing is how we identify cases of COVID-19 among people who don’t feel ill, and although they don’t have any symptoms they are still infected with the virus and able to spread it to others. We’ve worked to make testing as convenient as possible to encourage people to routinely test. Knowing your status also helps protect your family members and other close contacts by knowing when to take appropriate isolation and quarantine measures to prevent spread.”
DHEC reminds those who are eligible to get a vaccine, that while they are trying to keep the distribution process moving as quickly as possible throughout the state and nation. As of Tuesday February 2, 2021 South Carolina has received 777,250 vaccine and has given 439,888 vaccination. In addition to the 382,695 South Carolinians who DHEC says have now scheduled vaccine appointments.
Health experts say it could still be some time before a COVID-19 vaccines is more readily available and more people can get vaccinated. In the meantime, public health officials ask South Carolinians continue to take small steps that make a big difference in stopping the spread of the disease.
- consistently and correctly wearing a well-fitted mask,
- getting tested often,
- avoiding large gatherings,
- practicing physical distancing, and
- when it’s your turn, getting vaccinated
“Our state’s impressive testing accomplishments couldn’t be done without our dedicated testing teams around the state who for almost a year now have braved cold, rainy days and hot, humid days to provide this essential service to South Carolinians,” said Nick Davidson, Senior Deputy for Public Health. “Our DHEC testing teams, our testing vendor workers, and all of our community partners who staff testing sites are working long hours in the elements and we are indebted to their dedicated work ethic. We hope South Carolinians will offer a thank you or few words of praise to the dedicated testing site workers who are playing an enormous role in our fight against COVID-19.”
Right now there are 311 testing locations in South Carolina, and all DHEC-sponsored testing locations use pain-free nose or mouth swabs.
To find a testing location near you, visit scdhec.gov/findates