CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Tidelands Health is hosting its final free COVID-19 testing clinic for the month at Coastal Carolina University.
Tidelands Health officials said this is the largest testing event to happen in our region to date, with 2,500 people being able to receive a nasal test. The event was set to start at 10 a.m. Friday, but began an hour early due to a large number of people already lined up.
By 10 a.m., a long line of cars had formed at the campus’ entrance.
The clinic is set up in the Coastal Carolina University parking lot near Highway 501 while supplies last. By 12 p.m., staff had already administered over 1,100 of the 2,500 tests available, Tidelands staff said.
Typically, Tidelands Health has had four lanes for the clinics, and officials said there will be six lanes available at Friday’s event. They hope this will aid with wait times but if you plan to come, be patient, as there aren’t any appointments.
Tidelands Health made it clear they receive a certain amount of tests from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Gayle Resetar, Tidelands Health chief operating officer, said when SCDHEC arrives, if they provide additional tests and they can be accomplished in the time frame, they will do them.
Resetar said if you head to the testing site, they do make a cut off, as they want to ensure those in line receive a test. She added they will usually have a little extra just to make sure those in the line making it to the front will get a test.
“It’s the same as other events. We’ve been allocated a certain amount of testing supply with DHEC. The DHEC state public lab that processes all the specimens has a certain capacity per day as well, so even if we could go the afternoon and all night, there’s only so much DHEC can process in one day,” Resetar said.
Just last week, Tidelands Health hosted a clinic at Inlet Square Mall. An hour and a half into testing, they reached their goal of 1,500.
Because of the demand, Tidelands Health decided to combine Friday’s clinic with one originally scheduled for this past Wednesday in Little River.
Resetar said it’s safer this way.
“When you have a massive population of people there and you’re not scheduling appointments, you don’t know who’s going to come. The fear of really backing up Highway 9 and creating a public safety problem,” Resetar said.
Resetar also noted they’re committed to testing opportunities in July.
Right now on their website, they have two listed. Both events are at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans ballpark on 21st Avenue North in Myrtle Beach on July 17 and July 31. They both start at 10 a.m. and continue while supplies last.