COLOMBIA, SC (WIS) – State officials have launched a pilot program that allows anyone in South Carolina to take a saliva-based COVID-19 test kit at home in any of the county’s health departments.
According to Scott Thorpe, head of COVID Midlands for the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, the program started on Monday but is still in the testing phase.
Thorpe says it is free for everyone and that all people need to do is go to the city office during business hours, fill out a short questionnaire and they will receive a test kit to take home. Thorpe says that people simply need to spit in the tube provided and use the transport materials provided by DHEC to send the sample back.
He adds that people can expect results in 24-72 hours. However, as the program is still in its early stages, counties may not have enough kits to meet demand.
DHEC recommends that people check the county health department in advance to see if test kits are available.
“Supply is somewhat limited,” said DHEC medical director, Dr. Michael Kacka. “There is a lot of interest in doing these tests, so it is difficult to find supplies right now. Call ahead to make sure the test is available. “
Kacka said that if this pilot program is effective and people show an interest in it, DHEC will work to make it more widely available at all test sites.
The authorities hope that the availability of a free, home and non-nasal test will encourage people to get tested, as they have begun to experience “test fatigue”.
“I would say that in the last few weeks we have seen a test plateau and have seen a dramatic increase in numbers. I think people still resist taking the swab test and I think the saliva test is a slightly new development that people will accept more, ”said Kacka.
Kacka explained that people should get tested once a month if they are active or out of the house, immediately after experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 and about seven days after being exposed to someone who is positive for the virus.
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