All SC public schools to get rapid COVID-19 testing kits

Schools should have the tests after the Thanksgiving holiday, health officials say
Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 11:21 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said he will soon issue an executive order mandating the distribution of COVID-19 testing kits to every public school in the state.

“In the coming days, I will issuing an executive order, directing DHEC to provide every school district with COVID-19 testing kits,” explained McMaster.

The kits will include rapid antigen tests -- which take about 15 minutes to diagnose whether someone has COVID-19. The tests are provided by the federal government.

Tests will be available to both students and faculty or staff who have symptoms.

Students must have permission from their parent or guardian to get tested.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control is working with the state Department of Education to determine how many testing kits should go to each school.

There should be enough tests available at each school so any symptomatic child who has permission can get tested, said Dr. Brannon Traxler, the interim director of DHEC.

Schools should receive the testing kits in the week after Thanksgiving, Traxler said.

“These will be the BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests that are made by Abbott and have been provided to South Carolina from the federal government,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler. “We will be issuing a standing order authorizing the school nurses to be trained in how to collect the specimen.”

Going forward, Traxler said DHEC hopes to keep testing kits supplied to each school.

McMaster made this announcement during a media briefing about COVID-19 in the state concerning what people need to do over the holiday season. He urged everyone to get “tested before turkey.” Read more about that by clicking or tapping here.

Cases in South Carolina have surged recently, with more than 1,000 new daily cases reported by DHEC on seven of the past 10 days.

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