COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As of Sunday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said that 28 people have tested positive. That number is now up to 33.
Officials said, as of Monday, they have tested a little over 300 people across South Carolina. This number remains low because DHEC’s threshold to be considered a high-risk patient that is recommended for getting tested for the coronavirus is still high.
However, President Trump announced last week a focus on increasing testing nationwide through private labs. As of Monday, the FDA lists over 15 private labs that are offering testing for COVID-19.
In South Carolina, there are medical companies, like Thrive Medical, a medical distribution company in South Carolina, that are working to get those private COVID-19 testing kits into doctors’ offices and hospitals around the country.
“A lot of people are concerned because they’ve gone to the doctor with respiratory and fever, but they don’t know whether they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive,” Jessica Sheheen, the co-founder of Thrive Medical, said.
However, that’s one of the things DHEC officials said you need to know. In order to be recommended for coronavirus testing. Other key thresholds set by DHEC are having a fever and respiratory symptoms that cannot be explained as anything else or if you have traveled internationally in the last two weeks.
Sheheen said that Thrive Medical has partnered with Livingston Med Lab, a private medical lab in Texas, that is providing COVID-19 tests to doctors’ offices, free of charge for both the patients and the doctors’ offices.
“That’s where our company comes in and the partnership Livingston Med. We are able to provide free testing kits and free tests for anyone who meets the criteria,” Sheheen said.
Sheheen said that criteria is lower than DHEC’s. She said that, if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms that can’t be explained as another illness, you can be tested.
“It was really important for us to find a way for more people to get tested. They’ve said this is community spread and no one knows who they’ve been in contact with and the DHEC regulations are so strict as far as meeting the criteria for testing so we just felt like we had to do something to help people here,” Sheheen said.
Sheheen said any doctor’s office or hospital is able to use Livingston Med to supply COVID-19 tests for free. If you have questions you can email Thrive Medical at email@example.com.
For private testing labs, the FDA requires that all positive COVID-19 tests are reported to DHEC.
Prisma Health is also offering new services for COVID-19 testing. A drive-through testing area has been set up at the Columbia and Greenville locations.
“We wanted to make sure we got the testing out and provided a safe environment for the patient and staff. It’s proven to be very effective and safe for the employees,” Dr. Steve Shelton, the incident commander for Prisma Health Midlands, said.
However, this drive-through is not for everyone at this time. You will only be able to be tested at the drive-through if you have an order form from a Prisma Health doctor, have an order form from the Prisma Health online screening, or if you are being referred through DHEC.
Shelton said they plan to expand the drive-through program over time, but they are currently able to test up to six patients an hour.