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Lowcountry Covid testing sites see long lines after holiday weekend

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 4:44 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2021 at 6:20 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After the Christmas holiday, many are desperate to get tested for Covid as cases rise around the United States with the omicron variant.

On Monday, lines wrapped around parking lots at DHEC testing sites at the North Charleston Coliseum and at the Seacoast Church site in Mount Pleasant.

“This variant seems to very much quickly take hold,” said Dr. Kenneth Perry, Assistant Medical Director for Trident’s Emergency Department. “If one person in the household has it, it’s very likely that even those who are vaccinated might start having symptoms and really end up having Covid-like symptoms and probably have Covid, and you know you just have to keep an eye on that and really be very vigilant about your symptoms.”

DHEC is not releasing testing data from Dec. 22 to Dec. 27 until Wednesday the Dec. 29. Many testing sites around the state are closed due to the holiday.

“When you look at all of those numbers being reported, you have to make sure that you know those numbers are independent of home tests that don’t have a way of reporting them,” said Perry. “So, the number of cases, probably a little bit higher than what DHEC is reporting.”

“We’ve seen an unprecedented increase in demand for rapid OTC COVID-19 tests and are working with our suppliers to ensure customers have access to self-test kits through the holidays,” said a spokesperson for Walgreens. ”Some stores may experience a temporary shortage in rapid OTC testing solutions.”

“Due to a recent surge in demand, and to retain community-based access to tests in our stores, there may be temporary out-of-stocks for these products on CVS.com,” CVS officials said. “We’re committed to providing families with protection and peace of mind during the holiday season, and we continue to offer access to lab-based testing with results available in 1-2 days or rapid COVID-19 testing at more than 4,800 CVS Pharmacy locations.”

CVS is limiting at-home test kits to six per purchase, while Walgreens is limiting purchases of the kits to four.

“These tests are helpful, but you have to understand how good the sample was and whether or not you believe the result based on your symptoms,” Perry said.

You can find a list of testing locations near you here.

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