News Releases

News Releases

U.S. Surgeon General, Gov. McMaster, DHEC, City of Columbia, and UofSC Partner to Launch Expansive, Multi-Day COVID-19 Testing Initiative in Columbia, S.C.

September 17, 2020


COLUMBIA, S.C. —  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), City of Columbia, and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) today announced its surge testing efforts to expand access to free COVID-19 testing in Columbia, S.C.

"'I’m glad to be in Columbia to represent HHS as these testing sites are stood up, increasing access to critical testing resources," said Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. “If you or your loved ones are worried you may have come into contact with COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms, please make an appointment to get tested. It’s easy and free. Please also remember to continue to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following the three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.”

“We’re grateful for our state and federal partners who have come together to make this event a reality,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. "We welcome anyone who wants to get tested to take advantage of this opportunity and join us this Saturday.” 

Beginning this Saturday, Sept. 19, free testing for COVID-19 will be available at Founders Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Columbia, S.C. The testing will be offered through a self-administered nasal swab, which is simple and pain-free.

“Testing remains a critical component in the fight against COVID-19, and we are committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to continue to bring access to free testing in our communities,” said DHEC Acting Director Marshall Taylor. “DHEC is asking South Carolinians to do your part to get tested. By getting tested you are helping us all to stay vigilant and take the needed actions to thwart the spread of this virus.”

“The combined efforts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Governor McMaster’s office, SC DHEC and the University of South Carolina to provide surge testing to increase capacity underscores the importance of testing to measure how pervasive the spread of COVID-19 is across the Midlands, and thus where we need to focus our resources,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Testing gives us the knowledge and data needed to strategically halt the spread, and provides more tools to ultimately reverse infection rates and fully overcome this pandemic.”

“The University of South Carolina is proud to partner with HHS, Governor McMaster, and DHEC on this important initiative,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “COVID-19 testing is an essential element in fighting the deadly coronavirus, and I am glad the university is taking an active role in expanding community and student testing. I encourage all residents of Columbia and the surrounding areas to join our students, faculty and staff in taking advantage of this testing opportunity so that we can identify and treat those infected by this virus.”

The community testing events will be offered for up to 14 days and all testing associated costs to run the events will be covered by HHS. The events will be held at:

Founders Park (UofSC Baseball Stadium) at 431 Williams St., Columbia (drive-through and walk-up)

  • Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Monday, Sept. 21-Friday, Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 27-Saturday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 2300 Greene St., Columbia (walk-up testing only)

  • Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Monday, Sept. 21-Saturday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you’re interested in registering to get tested for COVID-19 go to Once you’ve registered, make sure to print and bring the test voucher with you on the day of testing. There will be signage and onsite personnel to direct you to and through the testing sites. Results will be made available via e-mail notification in as early as three days.

Testing at these partner locations is available at no cost to individuals five years and older. To receive your free COVID-19 test, you do not need to be a resident of the county where the testing event is taking place. Individuals under 16 years old must have a parent or legal guardian present to consent to testing. Every individual getting tested will also receive five cloth face coverings so they can use to protect others from COVID-19.

For more information about testing and to find a testing location nearest you visit,



Media Relations