Health officials discuss when to get tested for COVID

Testing sites work to speed up return time on COVID-19 results

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Over the last few weeks, COVID-19 testing and the number of positive cases has increased, and in the Lowcountry, new efforts are being made to improve return time on results.

In Georgia, testing at the Savannah Civic Center sees about 600 people a day. But in the Lowcountry, public access isn’t quite as widespread.

Beaufort County will continue to hold free public testing events every week. So far, each testing event has had over 700 attendees.

In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s main limitation is how overwhelmed their labs have become. As a result, they have started doing batch testing where they test 20 at a time. If they get a positive result out of that group, they go back and individually test each swab.

DHEC is trying to expand lab capacities for the next few weeks of testing. Their main goal right now is getting results back quickly because many people are not following social isolation guidelines after being tested.

“There are certain things that we know about this virus now. That we didn’t know back in February and March, but we understand now. It’s important to social distance. It’s important to stay away from large crowds. It’s important to wear a mask in order to prevent infecting others. I mean, it’s important to maintain basic personal hygiene. And it’s important to be tested. If you have symptoms, get tested, you can then take actions that are in your best interest and the best interest of your friends and family,” said Senator Tom Davis, Beaufort County.

For those who may have been exposed over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, doctors say any symptoms may not show up for another three to four days, and if you feel you have been exposed, that would be the best time to get tested.

“Roughly 97 or 98% of people who are ultimately going to develop a positive test will do so by the tenth day. So, we just say wait till about day 10 or 11. However, also during that time, they should be following self-quarantine protocol because we know that they are a close contact of a known case,” said Lawton Davis, Coastal Health District Health Director.

For a list of SCDHEC’s COVID-19 testing site locations and times, click here.

For more on testing through the Coastal Health District, click here.

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