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MUSC doctors aren’t sure if another COVID wave is coming

Rapid home tests have become the most common COVID-19 testing method. Doctors with the Medical...
Rapid home tests have become the most common COVID-19 testing method. Doctors with the Medical University of South Carolina believe the popularity of these tests is contributing to the lack of data on the virus.(MUSC)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 5:02 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 5:36 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Rapid home tests have become the most common COVID-19 testing method. Doctors with the Medical University of South Carolina believe the popularity of these tests is contributing to the lack of data on the virus.

Dr. Scott Curry, Infectious Disease Specialist with the Medical University of South Carolina, says they have lost almost all the tools they had during the start of COVID.

During the start of the pandemic, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released daily case counts. Now, DHEC has scaled down to weekly counts.

Dr. Curry says an issue with this is home tests aren’t counted by DHEC and they are now the most common testing method.

MUSC is one of the largest employers in the tri-county and they count home tests from their workforce. Dr. Curry says If they’re seeing an influx in infections from their employees, doctors, or students they suspect the hospitals will fill one to two weeks after.

“It’d be nice to be able to give better reassurances if we had better epidemiology, but we just don’t know,” Dr. Curry says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is attempting to use wastewater sequencing to look at community COVID levels. According to Dr. Curry, only two sewage processing plants in the state are participating.

“It would be helpful if we had a more uniform regular almost all across the state look at our three almost four big metropolitan areas of what we are seeing in the sewage but frankly we just don’t have that right now,” Dr. Curry says.

Doctors are still encouraging people to get vaccinated. Dr. Curry says it’s proven to be the best defense against hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

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