Lowcountry fire station seeing surge in people needing COVID tests

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:44 PM EST
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - A Lowcountry fire station serving as a COVID testing site saw more than 10 times its normal volume Monday. Many people looking to get tested had to be turned away. Tuesday, the town opened a new site to get even more people through.

Hilton Head Emergency Manager Tom Dunn says COVID testing demand hasn’t been this high since when it first became available back in 2020, and that was shown Monday at Station Four, when there were over 300 people tested and they ran out of tests to give.

“We really didn’t expect that volume yesterday. We’re really sorry that it impacted the businesses around there, the people of that community, but we are reevaluating the site to see if we can continue to use that site based on the new volume,” Dunn said.

Multiple people WTOC talked with said they were at the fire station Monday and this drive thru didn’t have the same issues.

“This was my first try, it was pretty easy and just pull right in and got done in 10 minutes,” said Erika Knott who got tested on Tuesday.

Not everybody made it through that quickly, but the town’s emergency manager says even at its most congested points, people moved through smoothly.

“It’s about an hour wait so far is what we’re estimating from arrival to actually getting your test, so not awesome but it’s really not that bad at this point.”

Dunn says results here should come in between 48 and 72 hours after testing, but some people didn’t want to wait that long.

“We had a couple people show up today who wanted a rapid test, while they were in line actually made an appointment to get a rapid test at a local pharmacy and actually went out of line to go get it.”

This drive-through location at Chaplin Park will be open every day through Saturday starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. It’s also important to know that you don’t need an appointment to come get a test.

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