By Kevin Murdock
Chief Executive Officer
Premier Medical Laboratory Services
Premier Medical Laboratory Services has worked with DHEC throughout the pandemic to deliver test results to South Carolinians in a timely manner. The lab has provided millions of test results in 12 to 24 hours to both South Carolina and the nation at large. Since mid December, there was a large influx in testing demands due to the Omicron variant surge. Overnight, the laboratory saw an unprecedented 400% increase on December 17th and that continued to rise to 733% over the subsequent weeks.
Premier immediately took action, employing just under 250 South Carolinians in just two and a half weeks and investing in millions of dollars in automation equipment during that time as well. That equipment installation was delayed by the recent record-breaking snowstorm. With the equipment being installed this week and staff returning to work, Premier is continuing to work diligently to get back to their standard of 24 – 48 hour turn around time of test results. We plan to return to normal turnaround times within the next week and a half to three weeks with continual improvement during that time.
While there is still a current backlog at Premier, which was further affected by the severe ice storm that hit much of the eastern region early Sunday morning, Premier installed several generators and employed all necessary measures to keep our lab in operation to continue processing results. Staffing has been an issue due to COVID-19 infections and the severe winter storm. We are continuing to add employees while keeping the health and safety of our staff as a priority.
We realize that even one missing test result is unacceptable, but feel it is essential that we provide context as to why these delays are taking place. We apologize for the negative impact that this has caused but want to assure everyone that we are doing everything in our power and working 24/7 to correct the backlog.
Here is the link to the referenced DHEC post “DHEC updates widespread vendor testing delays“: https://whosonthemove.com/dhec-updates-widespread-vendor-testing-delays/