As SC testing rates drop, sites slow down and drop hours

From the beginning of February to its end, the demand for testing has dropped by about 50%.
Updated: Feb. 27, 2021 at 5:20 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The demand for COVID-19 tests is dropping in South Carolina.

Department of Health and Environmental Control data shows that on Feb. 25, clinics performed 33,499 tests.

This represents a gradual decline since mid-January, and a sharp plunge from the testing peak on Feb. 3 with 64,054 tests.

The drop in demand has translated to a reduction in hours at some testing sites.

In February, Reid Chapel AME Church rolled back its COVID-19 testing site from Wednesday through Sunday to just Friday through Sunday.

“The need for testing is still very much important, but now the more important thing of course is the vaccine,” Rev. Carey Grady said.

The testing sites now run from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., after initially running until 4 p.m.

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, the clinic had tested 13 people. During its height over the holidays, as many as 200 people would get tested in a day.

Grady urged vigilance.

“Get tested multiple times, because you never know, every time you go to the grocery store or the gas station. It’s better to know that not knowing,” he said.

Prisma Health made a similar announcement on Friday, changing its hours at its hospital locations and closing its community-based sites.

DHEC Senior Deputy for Public Health Nick Davidson pointed to decreasing hospitalizations and percent positive as factors slowing the demand for testing.

“I don’t think it’s unrealistic to probably expect somewhat of a lessening in demand, although it may just be momentary in testing,” he said.

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