The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announce this week that they will begin scaling back the number of agency-managed vendor COVID-19 testing sites across the state. The reduction is based on the declining demand for in-person testing and the increasing demand and supply of COVID-19 at-home rapid antigen tests.
Testing site reduction also signifies the state and nation’s transition out of a pandemic, and into an endemic, as public health officials provide guidance on how to live normal, safe lives with an ongoing presence of COVID-19.
DHEC’s March schedule includes changes to testing sites and data reporting. Here is the schedule:
• March 1-14: Gradual closure of DHEC-managed vendor testing sites in all counties with five or more non-DHEC PCR test providers such as primary care providers, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, mobile providers, etc.
• March 15: Change the frequency and type of data reporting to once per week rather than every weekday to best track where the virus’ impact is most severe
• March 14-April 1: Gradual closure of DHEC-managed vendor testing sites in all counties with 2-4 non-DHEC PCR test providers.
• April 1: Begin closure of DHEC-operated PCR sites except in counties where DHEC is the only PCR-test provider or only other such provider. In those areas, DHEC also will provide mobile rapid antigen testing services.
Vendor sites in the following counties will close in the time periods indicated. DHEC’s testing locator will be updated in real time to reflect when a specific site is no longer open. Please note that free rapid at-home antigen tests are available at most DHEC public health departments. The testing locator also reflects which health departments have these tests in stock.
Beginning March 1-14, a total of 97 vendor sites in 20 counties will close: Aiken (3), Anderson (4), Beaufort (4), Berkeley (4), Charleston (9), Colleton (1), Darlington (2), Dorchester (1), Florence (4), Georgetown (3), Greenville (8), Horry (6), Kershaw (3), Lancaster (6), Lexington (10), Orangeburg (3), Pickens (4), Richland (9), Spartanburg (6), and York (7).
From March 14-April 1, 30 vendor sites in the following 13 counties will close: Bamberg (3),
Barnwell (3), Chesterfield (2), Clarendon (2), Dillon (2), Greenwood (3), Laurens (2), Marion (2), Marlboro (2), Newberry (2), Oconee (2), Sumter (3), and Williamsburg (2).
A COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to prevent virus spread and severe cases that result in hospitalization and death. DHEC continues recommending vaccinations for ages 5 and up and booster shots for those who are eligible. Find a vaccination site near you on our vaccine locator or by calling our Care Line at 1-855-472-3432.