CHARLESTON, S.C. (WMBF) – MUSC Health has received an official waiver from the Food and Drug Administration that will enable greater access to testing for patients with respiratory illness symptoms and possible COVID-19 exposure, according to a press release.
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and his team worked with the FDA to expedite necessary approvals to mitigate the spread and severity of COVID-19 in the state, the release stated.
MUSC Health will continue to align closely all COVID-19 screening and testing processes with the guidance administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
To date, national testing capability has been limited, which in turn has slowed the ability to administer testing at state and local levels throughout the country, the release stated.
With the waiver, MUSC Health has been cleared to implement and accelerate screening and testing capabilities for more people experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms.
According to the release, previously prioritized patient groups included hospitalized patients, patients with virus hotspot travel histories, and members of the health care workforce. MUSC Health expects, within days, to increase significantly the number of patients who will now qualify for COVID-19 testing.
This will be accomplished by continuing to work with DHEC, partnering with private industry and implementing an in-house test within the next week. MUSC Health is part of ongoing discussions with other health systems and community hospitals throughout the state on ways to provide access to in-house testing capabilities as quickly as possible, the release stated.
MUSC Health continues to ask the community and referring care providers to use and direct patients to the MUSC Health Virtual Urgent Care online platform for access to respiratory illness screenings and testing orders. Using the promo code “COVID19” at check-out, patients can be screened for free. There are no age restrictions on who can be screened, meaning both adult and pediatric patients can be screened through the online platform.