MYRLTE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – On Friday a mass COVID testing site in Myrtle Beach collected 1,400 samples from patients.
Tidelands Health partnered with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for their ninth mass testing event.
Tidelands officials say they are working to break any barriers that stand in the way of testing.
Free tests and frequent events could help health officials identify COVID clusters within Horry County.
“We need to be part of controlling the spread of this in our community and we can do it. We just need the will to do it,” said Gayle Resetar, Chief Operating Officer at Tidelands Health.
Resetar says all hospitals in the Grand Strand are experiencing high occupancy rates.
“Our ICU’s are full. The number of our hospitalizations are way up. Tidelands Health today probably has 50, at least 50 patients hospitalized right now. Many of those in the ICU,” said Resetar.
Their first event in May brought back a one percent positive rate.
Two weeks ago the event brought in a 16 percent positive rate.
“That’s a lot of people that we’re saying you are positive for coronavirus. You’ve got to quarantine and that’s a piece of us controlling the spread,” said Resetar.
Officials say patients are getting tested for a wide range of reasons.
Whether they’re tested for symptoms, exposure, or just out of curiosity, Resetar says mass testing is a sure way to combat the virus.
“Our goal and DHEC’s goal is to make sure there is no barriers to entry,” said Resetar.
Officials hope to have patient results by Wednesday, but could take longer if labs are backed up.
Whether a patient tests positive or negative, they will receive contact from health officials.
“[DHEC will] probably be taking them back to Colombia in batches [Friday]. That’s sort of how they work so that they don’t take them all at the end of the day and get some processed. It takes a village. It’s a pretty big collaboration,” said Resetar.
The next testing event will be held on Friday July 24 at Coastal Carolina University at 10 a.m.
Tests are collected on a first come first served basis.