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SC DHEC site sees long lines for COVID-19 testing after Christmas

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Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 5:03 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2021 at 6:16 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A COVID-19 testing line that took people about five minutes to get through a week ago is now taking some people more than an hour, according to staff and those getting tested.

These rising wait times come despite staff saying about 15 people were working Monday compared to the four or five who were working in a couple of weeks before Christmas.

“I’ve never seen the line like this before since I’ve been tested,” said Shawnita Phillips who gets tested at DHEC’s Bull St. testing site every week for work. “My son came yesterday and they said they waited for an hour. Today, I’m on a break, I think I’m going to surpass my break.”

However, the lines are worth it for most in exchange for a bit of reassurance.

“I just woke up this morning with a little tingly sore throat. I figured better to feel safe than sorry,” said Columbia resident Derek Anders-Turner.

According to the Medical University of South Carolina, omicron accounts for 60 percent of all COVID-19 cases sequenced in their labs. But beyond the numbers, people say they are seeing more people around them catch COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic.

“I have a number of people at my workplace who have turned out positive,” said Roger Allen. “I’m concerned with the numbers, the increase in numbers,” he added.

Danny Grant waited about 35 minutes for his test Monday and said he was doing it as a precaution after the holiday because so many people in his family have gotten COVID in recent weeks or have been exposed to it.

“It’s been three in the last month. And then probably in the last six months, probably about six people,” Grant said.

Grant and others said they wanted to wait not only out of concern for their own health but for those around them.

“It’s important for me to stay healthy so the community stays healthy,” Anders-Turner said.

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