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S.C. sees COVID testing kit shortage, delays in results

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:26 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the two-state region sees an increase in COVID cases, there’s also an increase in demand for testing, leading to long lines and scarce supplies.

South Carolina has reported a shortage in the number of available at-home COVID-19 testing kits due to the surge.

“They are hard to come by for us to purchase for the state,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s director of public health.

DHEC reported Friday that more than 65,000 COVID-19 tests had been taken across the state in one day.

Along with the surge in testing comes delays in test results.

“It’s a little bit of a cycle. We are seeing more testing because we’re having more people with symptoms because more people are infected because this spreads so easily. And certainly, as more people get tested, we’re going to detect more positive cases,” said Traxler. “But I think that the driver of all this is that this variant is so contagious. And therefore, we are just seeing so many more cases so much more spread.”

Traxler says results from saliva or nasal swab PCR test should come back within one to three days, but with labs backed up, many people are reporting delays upwards of one week.

If you can’t find a testing appointment or an at-home test kit and you’re feeling symptoms, Traxler points to CDC isolation guidelines.

“If you can’t get tested but you have symptoms, you need to stay home and stay away from others until you meet the release from isolation criteria,” said Traxler. “So, stay home away from other people for at least five days after your symptoms began. As long as you’re not having fever for 24 hours and not taking any medicine to reduce your fever and your other symptoms are significantly improving, then you can return back out into society.”

If you find tests for home use, Traxler advises against hoarding them.

“Please just purchase what you need,” she said. “Don’t buy a bunch to have on hand. We do see increases becoming available in the next few weeks. Even just for us to be able to purchase and so there will be more tests coming.”

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