Today, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced it is continuing to actively address issues with multiple COVID-19 testing vendors and reporting facilities for failures to process tests and report results and case counts since the omicron-fueled surge began in late December.
As previously reported, the overwhelming majority of COVID tests ― about 97% ― are processed at large, non-DHEC labs. While DHEC’s Public Health Lab, which has a daily capacity of 2,500 samples, is operating at that capacity and currently not experiencing any delays, large private labs such as Premier Medical Laboratory Services have fallen significantly behind due to issues ranging from the sheer volume of samples to COVID-related internal staffing shortages and still have not caught up or met contractually obligated deadlines to do so.
Additionally, some private testing vendors have fallen so far behind in reporting results that DHEC had to take the unprecedented step of recommending those individuals finish what would have been their isolation time or return to work if it has been more than five days.
DHEC knows the delays being experienced by some Carolinians are unacceptable and is taking every step to hold the responsible labs and vendors accountable and get results back in a timely fashion. DHEC sincerely apologizes to all those negatively impacted by the substandard performance of select vendors and is working diligently to correct those issues. The safety and welfare of the citizens of South Carolina remain DHEC’s overriding concern.