Tidelands Health announced Tuesday morning that it would parter with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer a free "large-scale community testing program" in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.
DHEC will provide the testing supplies and Tidelands said it will operate the testing stations in the three counties with a goal to test 8,000 people, or 2 percent of the area's population, by the end of June.
The exact dates and locations will be announced in the coming days, Tidelands said. Testing sites will include the Myrtle Beach Pelicans stadium, the Coastal Carolina University campus and Tidelands facilities. No pre-screening is required.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Monday announced 126 new cases of…
Minors under 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
"Additional testing will allow us to quickly identify individuals with the virus - even those who may have no symptoms – and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune in a statement included with the Tidelands news release. “This is a critical step forward, and I extend my thanks to DHEC and Tidelands Health for making this possible for the people of our region.”
DHEC is increasing testing in South Carolina through the use of mobile testing sites, focusing first on underserved areas where residents don't have easy access to health care. For weeks, DHEC has been working to set up mobile testing sites around the state, but until Tuesday, none were scheduled for Horry County.
The state's goal is to test 2 percent of the population per month, or 110,000 people. As of Monday, the state was on tract meet that goal, having tested more than 60,000 residents.
"COVID-19 testing of both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals is of paramount importance to help us understand the spread of the virus in our region, particularly as tourist season begins,” said Tidelands CEO Bruce Bailey in a statement. “As our region’s largest health care provider, we are pleased to work alongside our partners at DHEC to better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities and work to slow its spread."
South Carolina has tested more than 131,000 people since the pandemic began, and has announced almost 9,000 lab-confirmed cases, including 391 deaths. The actual number of cases may be closer to 64,000, accounting for undiagnosed cases.
Horry County was home to 299 lab-confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, including 19 who've died.