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Dr. Linda Bell: “Testing Remains an Essential Tool to Helping Slow the Spread of COVID-19”

South Carolinians Getting Tested in Increasing Numbers as State Surpasses 5 Million COVID-19 Tests

February 2, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C.—More than 5 million COVID-19 tests have been performed in the state, as South Carolinians continue to do their part and follow the recommended actions for protecting public health during this ongoing pandemic. 

Today, public health officials reported that the number of tests performed in the state continues to significantly increase, with a growing number of South Carolinians now getting tested for COVID-19. This includes nearly 59 percent more people tested for the first time since November and 73 percent more South Carolinians who have now been tested more than once.

  • November 2020: 311,612 unique people tested and 725,039 total tests
  • December 2020: 440,305 unique people tested and 1,003,182 total tests
  • January 2021: 493,980 unique people tested and 1,256,144 total tests

South Carolinians who are regularly out in the community are strongly advised to get tested at least once a month, if not more often. There are currently 311 testing locations in South Carolina, and all DHEC-sponsored testing locations use pain-free nose or mouth swabs.

“We couldn’t be prouder of South Carolinians who are joining together and doing what’s right and what’s best for them and our state as we continue to fight this battle against COVID-19,” said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. “Routine testing is how we identify cases of COVID-19 among people who don’t feel ill, and although they don’t have any symptoms they are still infected with the virus and able to spread it to others. We’ve worked to make testing as convenient as possible to encourage people to routinely test. Knowing your status also helps protect your family members and other close contacts by knowing when to take appropriate isolation and quarantine measures to prevent spread.”

While COVID-19 vaccines are being given to South Carolinians as quickly as possible, the amount of vaccine available remains limited in the state and across the nation. As of today, South Carolina has received 777,250 vaccine and has given 439,888 shots. In addition, 382,695 South Carolinians have scheduled vaccine appointments. 

Until the COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available and enough people are vaccinated, public health officials are calling on South Carolinians to take small steps that make a big difference in stopping the spread of the disease. These include:

  • consistently and correctly wearing a well-fitted mask, 
  • getting tested often, 
  • avoiding large gatherings, 
  • practicing physical distancing, and 
  • when it’s your turn, getting vaccinated

“Our state’s impressive testing accomplishments couldn't be done without our dedicated testing teams around the state who for almost a year now have braved cold, rainy days and hot, humid days to provide this essential service to South Carolinians,” said Nick Davidson, Senior Deputy for Public Health. “Our DHEC testing teams, our testing vendor workers, and all of our community partners who staff testing sites are working long hours in the elements and we are indebted to their dedicated work ethic. We hope South Carolinians will offer a thank you or few words of praise to the dedicated testing site workers who are playing an enormous role in our fight against COVID-19.”

To find a testing location near you, visit




COVID-19 Media Relations News Release Statewide