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SC leaders offer ideas for improving COVID-19 testing availability, return time

Discussions continued into how to improve coronavirus testing in the state, this time with recommendations for the state to assist.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The state's testing and tracing subcommittee has created 17 recommendations for ways to improve coronavirus testing in the state following weeks of testimony and communication with state health leaders.

"What these recommendations attempt to do is get the state into a place where we can meet that goal of 10 percent of South Carolinians per month in terms of testing and turning those test times around more quickly," Sen. Tom Davis, the subcommittee's chairman, said. "That 10 percent figure per month is what the best medical science indicates is necessary to have the best mitigation and suppression strategies."

The recommendations include appointing the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) as the lead agency for the state's coronavirus testing response and offering additional financial support for resources to assist with their testing goals.

Credit: SC State Legislature Live Feed
Sen. Tom Davis, Testing and Tracing Subcommittee

RELATED: State leaders continue discussions on improving COVID-19 testing

"There has to be leadership and there has to be an individual who is responsible and who reports back to us and says, okay, this is how many we tested, we fell short of the goal and this is why," Sen. Davis said.

RELATED: Face masks work, are slowing virus in South Carolina, data shows

They also hope to fund saliva testing for the virus, a method that could make the process more comfortable and accessible, and provide funding for testing at public universities and technical colleges, as well as a warehouse for state leaders to store personal protective equipment (PPE).

RELATED: SC colleges talk about the economic impact of COVID-19

"We had heard from several different presenters that small providers haven't been able to acquire PPE, so we have a recommendation that they use the stock pile to fulfill the orders from small providers," State Staffer Andrea Truitt said. "It would be a source for them to obtain PPE."

They hope their findings will help to inform state law makers when they return in September, as they work to ramp-up testing and improve result return time.

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