HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — As South Carolina shifts to an endemic response to COVID-19, DHEC testing sites in Horry County are beginning to shut down.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control has begun scaling back its test sites as at-home tests become more available and demand for drive-up testing drops.
“They’re nice and easy to use,” Meghan Lardin, a manager at Socastee Pharmacy, said about at-home tests. “The nice thing is, we are able to have access to them now.”
Two kinds of COVID-19 tests sit on the shelves at Socastee Pharmacy now, but that wasn’t the case just a couple of months ago when it was not possible to get them in stock.
“We received so many calls throughout the day of people asking if we had the tests and if we were performing them, and at that time we weren’t able to get any,” Lardin said.
Now that the supply has improved for Socastee Pharmacy and many other retailers across the state, DHEC is changing its course. The state health agency began to gradually closure its testing sites on Tuesday as demand for in-person testing has declined.
“In areas or counties where there aren’t testing options readily available, we plan to leave those open for some time,” Dr. Jonathan Knoce, a DHEC consultant, said. “But we’ll be planning to step these down in a reasonable fashion in the coming weeks.”
Within the next two weeks, 97 vendor sites in 20 counties will close. That includes six in Horry County, four in Florence County and two in Darlington County.
“As we move into year three of COVID, our state and nation recognize this shift to endemic has to be more about the daily habits and practices of individuals,” Knoche said.
DHEC also announced its support for the U..S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s CDC’s new approach to tracking COVID-19, which focuses on severe cases and hospitalization rather than daily case counts.