State health leaders, private labs prepare for Biden Administration pandemic plan

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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) leaders are anticipating and are ready for an influx of COVID-19 tests when the Biden Administration’s “Path Out of the Pandemic” plan goes into effect.

The plan calls for mandatory vaccinations or weekly testing for employees at companies with more than 100 employees.

Doctor Jane Kelly, assistant state epidemiologist for DHEC, said the state has already seen an increase in testing in recent weeks.

“We have indeed seen an increase in testing across the state in recent weeks to include Horry County for both confirmed PCR and probable antigen tests,” she said.

Kelly says one reason for the recent spike in testing could be easier accessibility.

“There are more rapid tests, more PCR tests that are not just the antigen tests,” she said. “There are some home tests that can be helpful in identifying cases more early on.” 

She believes that increase in testing is leading to an increasing number of probable cases. 

News13 asked DHEC if their lab is prepared to take on more testing.

“I think our labs are prepared for this increase, both the commercial labs as well as our public health lab as well as testing that is done in school environments,” Kelly said.

Quest Diagnostics is one of the nation’s largest medical testing companies and company leaders say, they’ve processed more than 55 million Coronavirus tests since the start of the pandemic. 

A statement from Quest about the recent Biden Administration reads in part, “While many factors influence testing demand, we are evaluating opportunities to scale our laboratory testing capacity and rapid antigen test inventory should demand increase.”

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