South Carolina sees increase in COVID-19 testing before Thanksgiving

VIDEO: South Carolina sees increase in COVID-19 testing before Thanksgiving

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina health officials say testing locations throughout the state have seen an increase in testing over the past two weeks with some popular sites testing almost 100 residents per hour.

This comes as the state continues to ramp up testing opportunities and capacity at locations to meet holiday testing demand, according to officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“We are encouraged to see that South Carolinians are once again stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing as we continue our fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director.

Earlier today, DHEC reported 1,095 newly-confirmed cases of COVID-19, the 14th time in November that the total was over the one thousand mark. The number of new cases has come in at more than 1,000 for 11 out of the last 12 days.

State public health officials are continuing to urge South Carolinians to remain vigilant and practice known public health safety measures.

“While routine testing is key to knowing your individual health status, a negative test result doesn’t mean you can stop wearing a mask or social distancing,” Traxler said. “Face coverings and avoiding indoor group gatherings remain as important as ever.”

DHEC officials said while testing helps determine if you’re sick, masks and social distancing are critical to preventing illness from the very start.

State health officials pointed out that with COVID-19, you can be well today and ill tomorrow. A report by DHEC states asymptomatic individuals can unknowingly carry the virus and pass it along to others who may become more severely ill if they contract the virus.

“To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterate that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” DHEC officials said. “If you must travel, you should get tested before and after your trip and follow public health safety measures.”

“Unfortunately, the holidays are a prime time for disease transmission to occur if we don’t take the necessary precautions for safe celebrations,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “Keep any gatherings small, spaced out, and outdoors as much as possible. Ensure that proper social distancing and mask-wearing occurs, and individuals should seriously consider the risks associated with traveling. Unfortunately, we’re seeing many infections resulting from household spread. Everyone should remember that the recommended protective measures are also important for friends and extended family visiting your home. One of the safest ways to connect with loved ones is over the phone or on another virtual platform.”

The latest COVID-19 information for South Carolina is available at schdec.gov/COVID19.

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