To increase access to timely testing statewide, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has received and is distributing the first shipments of the at-home rapid COVID-19 antigen tests it ordered for South Carolina.
To date, the agency has ordered more than 2 million tests and has received about 140,000 of them. DHEC expects to receive the full order of rapid tests over the course of the next several weeks and we will alert the public when they are available.
The test kits, each containing two tests, have been distributed to DHEC public health departments (PHDs) around the state for community use and will be available for pickup beginning Monday, Jan. 24. Residents can visit DHEC’s testing locator to confirm whether their local PHD has at-home rapid tests available.
These at-home rapid tests are easy to use, have received emergency use authorization, and provide a result in minutes as opposed to hours or days. While the brand of test that DHEC receives may change over time, the authorization, ease of use, and resulting times will not. At-home test results are not required to be reported to DHEC but can help an individual take appropriate action to monitor their health and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
It is important to note that at-home rapid tests are in limited supply and residents are not guaranteed a test when attempting to acquire one. One test kit, containing two tests, will be given to an individual (of any age) who arrives in person to a PHD. Individuals must be physically present to receive a test kit. A person may not pick up test kits for other people.
A person with symptoms must not come into a PHD for a test kit. Anyone not feeling well should notify the staff performing screening at the door that they have symptoms and staff will bring a test kit to them.
Residents are asked to practice patience when attempting to acquire a rapid test and make alternative plans to get tested in case they cannot obtain one. There are testing locations across the state for residents to visit if they are experiencing symptoms or are otherwise recommended to be tested.
Fifty percent of the rapid at-home tests DHEC receives will be distributed to the community. The rest will be provided to first responder agencies, state government agencies, school districts, long-term care facilities, and county and state correctional facilities. It is imperative that staff in these entities who are symptomatic or close contacts can quickly be made aware of their COVID-19 status so they can act accordingly and protect the health of those they serve from potential spread of illness.
DHEC appreciates those who are doing their part by getting tested, quarantining and isolating when recommended, and keeping themselves and their loved ones safe by getting their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster when eligible.
DHEC strongly encourage vaccinations for ages 5 and up, booster shots for those 12 and older, and the use of masks to protect ourselves and each other from virus spread. Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and to protect those around you. Find a vaccination site near you on our vaccine locator or by calling our Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110.