COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina still ranks pretty low for the state’s COVID-19 testing capacity. There has been improvement since the first outbreak of the virus, but a special group of lawmakers want to set those goals even higher.
Some senate groups are taking a look at some recommendations that they hope the state can move forward with to help improve testing.
Testing 10% of the state’s population for COVID-19 each month is just one suggestion a group of lawmakers is putting on the table to help the state enhance its COVID-19 testing capacity.
About 5% of the state’s population is tested each month for COVID-19, but health officials and lawmakers say the state needs to be testing even more.
“That 10% figure is a month is what the best medical science indicates is the best to have mitigation strategies for the virus,” said Senator Tom Davis, Senate COVID-19 Testing and Tracing Committee.
That’s just one recommendation the Senate COVID-19 Testing and Tracing Committee is making to improve the state’s testing. Members want to also dedicate at least $60 million to expand testing services and introduce saliva COVID-19 tests.
“It’s less expensive, it’s easier to take the test, you don’t have to have qualified medical professionals, the turn around is quicker, it has less accuracy but that’s off set by expanding testing capacity,” said Senator Davis.
The committee wants to also make sure hot spots and populations most at risk for the virus get adequate testing as the state expands.
“The problem is the disparity in the healthcare we have gotten from people who are suffering from diabetes and these issues and unfortunately a lot of them are African Americans and they’re dying,” said Senator Gerald Malloy, Senate COVID-19 Testing and Tracing Committee.
The Reopen Select Committee now has a copy of these recommendations to review and present to the general assembly.
The committee has not tackled the contact tracing just yet, but is planning to have a hearing soon to talk apps and different technologies to help the state improve its tracing as well.