COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, DHEC says they’ve seen an increase in people going to get a COVID-19 test.
On Monday, November 16, almost 8,000 people were tested statewide and the following Friday more than 13-hundred people were tested, according to DHEC. Specifically, at DHEC’s Bull Street testing site, 298 people were tested on Monday and 501 were tested on Friday.
In addition, despite the Bull Street location only being open for a few hours on Saturday, 375 people came to get tested, which is more than any single day in the week prior other than Friday.
Rosa Creech was one of those people waiting to get tested Saturday, and she said knowing if she could transmit the virus was a necessary piece of information before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“With the numbers, we are seeing right now, I just felt like I needed to get tested to make sure I was okay. My son in Charleston tested positive and he was 100% asymptomatic,” said Creech.
Others waiting with Creech had similar concerns.
“I want to have a clear conscience,” said Carey Mears.
Mears had just come back to South Carolina from Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving with her immediate family but went to a DHEC testing location to get tested with her sister first.
Mears wasn’t feeling sick or experiencing any symptoms but wanted to be sure she wasn’t an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
According to the CDC, 50% of infectious people spreading COVID-19 have no symptoms.
DHEC says it takes about two to three days to get results after visiting one of their testing sites, which motivated a lot of people to get tested five days before Thanksgiving.
For many, the test results were the last thing missing before they finalized their plans.
“We will see if we still comfortable by the time Thursday comes along,” Creech said. “We don’t want to get anyone sick, so we can’t get together, we can’t get together,” she added.
Everyone who spoke to WIS said the testing process was smooth Saturday, and wait times were around an hour for people who opted to use the drive-in testing at DHEC’s Bull Street location.
In fact, most people didn’t have an appointment and registered for a test while waiting in line by going to GoGetTested.com.
Volunteers would then scan a QR code sent to users by the site and volunteers informed people getting tested they would receive their results by email or text in the coming days. According to GoGetTested’s Facebook page, users who do not receive results after four days can email firstname.lastname@example.org with their information for assistance.
However, according to health experts, a negative test result isn’t permission for people to let their guards down this holiday season.
“That negative test today does not mean you’re going to be negative tomorrow or the next day, and certainly not by Thanksgiving,” Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Grior said. “And it is not a free pass to go without all the important measures that we want,” he added.
For more information on testing sites near you, click here.