DHEC distributes 15 rapid testing devices, testing supplies to facilities across SC


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WCBD/WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Tuesday it has helped distribute rapid-testing devices and testing supplies to areas of the state where testing may be limited.

According to a news release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid-response test. The rapid-testing devices can provide results in 15-20 minutes, and are in high demand around the country.

South Carolina received 15 devices and some testing supplies from FEMA, which have been distributed to 15 health care facilities, according to the release.

“We are only testing with the rapid tests those patients who are coming through our emergency department that are being admitted that are symptomatic,” said Penny Tisdale, who is the director of the AnMed Health Lab. AnMed is among the health systems that received a device.

The rapid-response testing machines and supplies have been distributed to:

  • Kershaw Health (Kershaw County)
  • Self Regional Healthcare (Greenwood County)
  • Piedmont Medical Center (York County)
  • Regional Medical Center: Orangeburg Hospital (Orangeburg County)
  • Bon Secours Health System (Greenville County)
  • AnMed Health (Anderson County)
  • Aiken Regional Medical Center (Aiken County)
  • McCleod Health Clarendon (Clarendon County)
  • Spartanburg Regional Healthcare (Spartanburg County)
  • Coastal Carolina Hospital (Jasper County)
  • MUSC Health Marion (Marion County)
  • Williamsburg Regional Hospital (Williamsburg County)
  • Lexington Medical Center (Lexington County)
  • Al Cannon Detention Center (Charleston County)
  • S.C. Department of Corrections 

“We wish every health care facility in the state could be provided with these new instruments, but until then, we’ve prioritized their distribution to the places where we hope they can have the biggest and best impact for South Carolinians,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, DHEC’s Director of Public Health.

According to Tisdale, AnMed received the device and enough testing materials to last them at least a week or two.

“[We’re] only testing the symptomatic patients, and I’d say that can range anywhere from three a day to maybe ten a day,” Tisdale said.

She said of all the tests conducted at AnMed, less than ten-percent were found to be positive. But when someone does have Covid-19, knowing their status immediately can help preserve valuable bed space and PPE.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re putting appropriate people in those negative pressure and isolation rooms, so knowing that result when we admit that patient allows us to have a better placement for that patient in the facility,” Tisdale said.

A spokesperson from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System told 7News they’re reserving the rapid tests for urgent cases, like when someone lives in a nursing home or needs surgery.

The tests were rolled out quickly as an emergency measure, and in recent weeks, the company that produces them warned that the device could produce false negatives if samples are stored or transported in a preservative liquid. The company, Abbott, said the tests should perform as expected if the samples are put in the device while they’re dry.

Tisdale said they are following the guidelines and are comfortable with the results.

“It’s a very good test,” she said. “It has a fairly low limit of detection, so we don’t need that many cells to be able to detect positive or negative. So it’s a good test.”

DHEC said it has requested more of the rapid-test devices and additional testing supplies but no specific timeline has been provided on when to expect a next shipment.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in South Carolina, visit www.scdhec.gov/COVID19.

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