When the coronavirus pandemic first hit South Carolina, we reported exclusively on how the Palmetto State was lagging well behind the rest of the nation in terms of testing. After some modest progress on this critical front, South Carolina is once again struggling …
As our news director Mandy Matney reported yesterday, South Carolina ranked No. 45 nationally in terms of the number of its citizens tested – with 1,037 completed tests conducted per 100,000 citizens.
In fact, since Matney’s report was published the Palmetto State has slipped to No. 46 nationally – with only Ohio, Arizona, Virginia and Kansas testing fewer citizens on a per-100,000 citizen basis.
In an effort to improve on these abysmal outcomes, SCDHEC announced on Tuesday morning that it was “helping to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities … by deploying rapid-testing devices and testing supplies to areas of the state where testing for the virus may be limited.”
Specifically, the agency has received fifteen Abbott ID NOW rapid-response tests from federal officials. These devices, which can provide COVID-19 specimen results in 15-20 minutes, “are in high demand around the country,” according to the agency.
Per SCDHEC’s release, here is how the rapid-response testing devices are being distributed across the state:
- Kershaw Health (Kershaw County)
- Self Regional Healthcare (Greenwood County)
- Piedmont Medical Center (York County)
- Regional Medical Center: Orangeburg Hospital (Orangeburg County)
- Bon Secours Health System (Greenville County)
- AnMed Health (Anderson County)
- Aiken Regional Medical Center (Aiken County)
- McCleod Health Clarendon (Clarendon County)
- Spartanburg Regional Healthcare (Spartanburg County)
- Coastal Carolina Hospital (Jasper County)
- MUSC Health Marion (Marion County)
- Williamsburg Regional Hospital (Williamsburg County)
- Lexington Medical Center (Lexington County)
- Al Cannon Detention Center (Charleston County)
- S.C. Department of Corrections
“This specialized technology will help us increase testing for those who are most susceptible to this disease and who live in areas of our state where access to COVID-19 testing isn’t easily accessible,” Dr. Joan Duwve, SCDHEC’s newly installed director of public health said in a statement. “We wish every health care facility in the state could be provided with these new instruments, but until then, we’ve prioritized their distribution to the places where we hope they can have the biggest and best impact for South Carolinians.”
According to the agency, it considered “several factors” in determining where to send testing devices – including “regions with high numbers of positive cases; regions with rates above the state average for underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension and chronic diseases; and a facility’s capacity to use the machines to expand testing to rural communities.”
As this news outlet has often noted, the availability of “widespread, accurate and comprehensive testing” is essential in determining the proper response to the virus.
Unfortunately, that ship has sailed … not only in terms of the anemic testing, but the panicked governmental response that has tanked our national economy. Also, the government-mandated shutdowns do not appear to have materially mitigated the health care consequences associated with the virus … which continues to confound medical experts.
Now, the challenge is to determine who among us has had the virus already as we prepare for its second wave. Which means we need widespread, accurate testing for the various strains of the virus as well as its antibodies.
Ongoing uncertainty will only yield further bad decisions …
And our state and nation can ill afford further bad decisions if we expect to recover from the economic fallout associated with the shutdowns.
This news outlet is committed to providing our readers with the very latest, most relevant information we have related to this unfolding global story – and all of the stories we cover. To check out more of our coronavirus coverage, click on the link below …
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