FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - On Monday, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, with the help of LabCorp, began providing COVID-19 testing to all 194 nursing homes throughout the state.
DHEC will test approximately 40,000 residents and staff over the next month. Phase one began Monday as 15,000 residents and staff were tested from 74 facilities.
Of the 74 facilities, 27 were considered to be at-risk and the other 47 volunteered to get tested first.
Carlyle Senior Care in Florence has 73 confirmed cases, according to DHEC, which is the third-most in the state at a residential care facility. But they were not a part of the phase one testing since DHEC already tested their staff and residents in previous weeks.
To make this testing possible, DHEC coordinated with the South Carolina Healthcare Association and Leading Age South Carolina who represent a majority of nursing homes in the state.
President of the South Carolina Healthcare Association, Randy Lee, said the extensive testing is important to help them better understand how to keep their residents safe.
“It’s important for us to know what is in our buildings, and once we do that, we will have a much better feel of how we can contain it, and what we need to do to keep these people that we care for every day well,” said Lee.
Lee said they worked with DHEC over the last couple of weeks to develop a plan to safely test all nursing home staff and residents.
Last Thursday, the tests were delivered to the nursing homes and on Monday morning they were administered.
“Nursing homes provide a great place to look at the virus because our residents have been in the same place the entire time and the X-factor is that our employees leave in the afternoon and are around the family members and friends or are stopping at the grocery store, so I think this is a great way to see how the virus progresses,” said Lee.
LabCorp will pick up the tests on Tuesday, and the results for phase one testing will be determined over the next 72 hours.