MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – One of Horry County’s first free drive-through testing sites welcomed patients across the Grand Strand to the Pelicans Stadium parking lot on Saturday. One thousand people were tested for COVID-19.
Tidelands Health and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) partner to provide the first of several testing opportunities. No appointment, prescreening, or screening criteria for symptoms was required for the mobile screening.
Cars began lining up two hours before the clinic started. Coordinators originally planned for 750 tests, but as an interest quickly grew, 250 tests were added.
Patients expressed their thankfulness for the community partnership. They say they came to get tested for their safety and everybody else’s safety around them. Many people waiting inside their cars didn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
“You just never know, we could be asymptomatic and this is a good way of knowing, and for safety,” Kathleen Darcy & Camille August, two patients who came to be tested, said.
The clinic was scheduled for eight hours. Halfway through, tests ran out. Tidelands Chief Operating Officer, Gayle Resetar, said 168 tests were given in the first hour.
Cars piled up among four lanes moving towards four stations set up where the test swabbing would take place. While waiting in line, patients begin the registration process by filling out paperwork.
Once they reach their designated station, physicians were geared up in gowns, face shields, masks, and gloves to meet them with a testing swab.
“It gives us a better number from a clinical standpoint but also the community just to kind of see the progress of it,” Dr. Sean Nguyen, Tidelands Family Medicine Physician said.
Baseball fans usually pack the Pelicans Stadium parking lot. On Saturday, everyone had a different reason for showing up. For some, they want to feel assured when they go to visit their relatives.
“They are in their 80’s and we want to make sure we don’t give them anything,” one couple driving through said.
Physicians say the patients getting tested received a PCR test. It’s the same testing used inside Tidelands Hospitals. Physicians are expecting rapid results, predicting patients will receive results within two to three days.
“Knowing who’s at risk in the population and whom you are exposing I think will help kind of minimize if someone is positive trying to isolate more,” Nguyen said.
Tidelands staff, DHEC officials, the Pelicans Stadium management, and Myrtle Beach police were apart in helping get the first of several similar partnership events off the ground.
“It’s going so well today we may try to reevaluate whether there’s another event here or we relocate an event,” Resetar said.
The next free testing clinic will be held on June 4th at the Tidelands Health location on Holmestown Road in Myrtle Beach.
Upcoming testing sites:
- Thursday, June 4, 1-4 p.m., Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road, 4320 Holmestown Road, Myrtle Beach
- Friday, June 5, 2-6 p.m., Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, 606 Black River Road, Georgetown
- Thursday, June 11, 1-4 p.m., Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road, 4320 Holmestown Road, Myrtle Beach
- Wednesday, June 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Belin United Methodist Church, 4182 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet
- Wednesday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tidelands Health Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health, 100 Water Grande Blvd., Little River
- Thursday, June 25, 1-4 p.m., Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road, Myrtle Beach
- Friday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Coastal Carolina University, 100 Chanticleer Drive, Conway