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SCDHEC puts rapid-response testing device for COVID-19 at Lexington Medical Center

West Columbia, SC – The SC Department of Health and Environment Control recently released a statement that details the deployment of 15 rapid-response COVID-19 testing devices across the state. Lexington Medical Center was one of the hospital systems that received this equipment.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is helping to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities for the novel coronavirus COVID-19 by deploying rapid-testing devices and testing supplies to areas of the state where testing for the virus may be limited.

In their release, a spokesperson for DHEC said the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid-response test recently received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is used to quickly test specimens for COVID-19.

South Carolina received 15 of these devices from U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DHEC deployed the devices and a limited amount of testing supplies to 15 health care facilities across the state last week. This week, the agency is distributing additional testing supplies to those facilities. The rapid-test devices, which can provide COVID-19 specimen results in 15-20 minutes, are in high demand around the country.

“This specialized technology will help us increase testing for those who are most susceptible to this disease and who live in areas of our state where access to COVID-19 testing isn’t easily accessible,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, DHEC’s Director of Public Health. “We wish every health care facility in the state could be provided with these new instruments, but until then, we’ve prioritized their distribution to the places where we hope they can have the biggest and best impact for South Carolinians.”

Lexington Medical Center in Lexington County was one of therecipients of this new technology. The other machines were spread across the state to other medical or detention facilities. One landed at the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County, and another at the S.C. Department of Corrections.

DHEC considered several factors in determining where to send these devices. Those factors included regions with high numbers of positive cases; regions with rates above the state average for underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and chronic diseases; and a facility’s capacity to use the machines to expand testing to rural communities.

The devices use the same type of nasopharyngeal specimen, or nose swab, as the traditional testing. A health care provider collects the patient’s specimen, enters the specimen into the device, and results are provided in 15-20 minutes.

DHEC has requested more of the rapid-test devices and additional testing supplies but no specific timeline has been provided on when to expect a next shipment.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in South Carolina, visit

PHOTO: Abbott Labs

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