Lab fails to report thousands of COVID-19 tests to SC

State - Regional

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York’s Long Island. The Trump administration’s plan to provide every nursing home with a fast COVID-19 testing machine comes with an asterisk: the government won’t supply enough test kits to check staff and residents beyond an initial couple of rounds. A program that sounded like a game changer when it was announced last month at the White House is now prompting concerns that it could turn into another unfulfilled promise for nursing homes, whose residents and staff account for as many as 4 in 10 coronavirus deaths. Administration officials respond that nursing homes can pay for ongoing testing from a $5-billion federal allocation available to them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — For the second time this week, South Carolina health officials said a lab failed to report thousands of COVID-19 tests over several months.

Urgent care clinic chain Doctors Care reported the results of more than 7,000 COVID-19 tests from July through this week. About 400 of them were positive, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a news release Friday.

The delay in testing both prevents the agency from tracing any contacts that a person testing positive had and prevents DHEC from getting an accurate picture of the spread of a virus on a particular day, the agency said.

The health agency reminded labs that they are required to report both positive and negative COVID-19 tests to the state within 24 hours or face punishment if they repeatedly delay results.

On Tuesday, state officials announced that the Augusta University Healthcare system in Georgia failed to report the results of 15,000 coronavirus tests — 2,000 of them positive — that were conducted on South Carolina residents from May to September.

More than 140,000 people have now been infected with COVID-19 in South Carolina and the state has reported more than 3,100 deaths since the pandemic began in March.

South Carolina continues to rank in the top 10 in the nation in new COVID-19 cases adjusted by population and a monthlong decline in new cases stopped in late August.


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