SUMTER, S.C. — Prisma Health has added a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Sumter.

The tests will be performed at the hospital’s Calhoun Street/Day Surgery entrance, address, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday–Friday.

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Prisma Health started offering this testing in Columbia and Greenville last week.

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Earlier in the week, Prisma Health Tuomey began offering limited drive-through esting for patients with personal identification and orders from their provider or a Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider. 

Here's what the hospital says will happen: Upon arrival at the drive-through location, patients will remain in their car as a sample is collected. The results from samples collected from this location will be sent to the ordering physician and patients will be contacted as soon as their result is available. Because of likely backlog of testing at labs, patients may not receive results for four to seven days.

Doctors must determine if a test should be ordered based on the patient’s risk factors, such as age, underlying health issues or recent international travel. Only those people who are experiencing symptoms of the virus — fever, shortness of breath and cough — and who have reason to believe they have been exposed are encouraged to contact their health provider for an evaluation.

Currently, Prisma Health is not able to provide testing to community members without a physician order. Plans are under way to expand testing for more people at additional sites, which will be announced as soon as possible.

Because the healthcare provider suspects that the patient may have COVID-19, the hospital asks that patients self-isolate at home until they hear the results of their test. This is vital to help protect the community from potential exposure. If the patient’s symptoms worsen, they should contact their physician or Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider.

For current information on home isolation and how to protect your family members from potential exposure, please review this guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This information can also be accessed online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html

Prisma Health Virtual Visits, which launched earlier this month, include a new on-demand video option in addition to the existing online visit option. To access the free virtual visits, use promo code COVID19. To learn more about Virtual Visits or create an account, visit www.PrismaHealth.org/Virtual-Visit.

For more information about COVID-19 and Prisma Health’s continued response, visit PrismaHealth.org/Coronavirus.

What is the Coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.