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Grand Strand seeing lower COVID-19 testing availability as cases rise

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:34 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - As more people are exposed to COVID-19, or have symptoms of the virus, tests are running low along the Grand Strand.

Doctors and pharmacists said that over the last couple of weeks not only has there been a huge increase in testing, but the positivity rate has also been on the rise.

“Based on the numbers of infections that we’re seeing right now, right at this moment we are seeing more and more infections every day, so it doesn’t really show any signs of peaking as of yet,” said Dr. Paul Richardson of Conway Medical Center.

Within the first five days of January, CMC said its average percentage of positive tests results was almost 30%.

Not even a week into the new year. and the medical center ran almost 2,000 tests as of Thursday, compared to less than 6,000 tests throughout all of last month.

In addition to CMC, pharmacies are also seeing more demand for COVID-19 tests.

“We take pride in caring for our patients, so we make sure we send them to either place in order for them to get the tests, if they have it, but lately I’ve been hearing that the supply has been low here too,” said Caroline Gardner, a pharmacist at Socastee Pharmacy.

Gardner said some of the reasons people want tests is because of the Omicron variant, holiday travels and workplaces requiring negative tests. Urgent care facilities are also backed up with COVID testing appointments and some pharmacies and testing sites have simply run out of tests.

“So far our testing supplies have held up, but I’ll be honest that we’re going through a lot of tests here, so while we’re confident we’ll be able to continue to maintain our volumes, it’s getting to be more difficult to find testing,” said Richardson.

Richardson says the best advice he can give is to be patient if you’re looking for a test. He also said if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have any symptoms, stay at home and isolate.

Below are resources on where you can get testing.

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