GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - Staff at Tidelands Health are hosting mass COVID-19 testing sites about once a week to reach at many South Carolinians as possible.
So far, more than 15,600 people have been tested as sites like Georgetown High School, Coastal Carolina University and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans stadium.
“We really worked through enough logistics that we could because once you set up that kind of event, it’s kind of go big or go home. We figured we could much more efficiently get these large events than smaller more frequent events,” Chief Operating Officer at Tidelands Health Gayle Resetar said.
Early in the pandemic, when the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reached out to Tidelands Health to ask about partnering, DHEC was doing a few hundred tests a day. Now Tidelands staff are able to do around 2,500 tests at each event and have partnered with DHEC and the National Guard to help.
“It requires a lot of resources and staff that’s why we’re doing them once a week,” Resetar said. “We did six lanes of both registration and swabbing which kept the waits to about an hour.”
She said anyone is welcome to come. The tests are free and you don’t have to have symptoms to get tested. The goal is to try to stop the spread by doing as many tests as possible and informing people of their results as quickly as possible.
“We are seeing significant spread in our community,” she added. “We are seeing greater numbers of patients hospitalized every week. You don’t know necessarily that you’re not one of those people that could find yourselves hospitalized with this. It’s not a hoax.”
She said at Tidelands first large-scale testing site at the end of May, they did 1,000 tests and the percent positive was one percent.
At the latest testing event in Horry County, the percent positive was 16 percent after 2,500 tests were administered. Numbers are still coming in from last week’s testing event in Georgetown County, but Resetar said they’re looking at about a 9-10 percent coming back positive.
She said it’s been a challenge to get results back quickly but DHEC is working with more labs to try to get people results back as quickly as possible so they know to quarantine.
Tidelands has another large-scale testing event on Friday at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans stadium starting at 10 a.m. You can get more information by clicking: here.
You can find out when and where testing sites are near you by clicking: here.