More than 1,000 individuals tested Saturday during Tidelands Health’s first free community COVID-19 testing clinic

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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on May 30, 2020

More than 1,000 individuals tested Saturday during Tidelands Health’s first free community COVID-19 testing clinic in Myrtle Beach

More than 1,000 individuals flocked to Myrtle Beach Pelicans Stadium on Saturday for the first community COVID-19 testing clinic organized by Tidelands Health and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The clinic, which provided free testing to determine if an individual has COVID-19, represents the largest DHEC community COVID-19 mobile testing site in South Carolina to date.

Vehicles lines up for COVID-19 testing at Pelicans stadium Eager residents started lining up for testing more than two hours before the clinic’s scheduled start at 10 a.m., and the entire supply of test kits from DHEC – a little more than 1,000 - had been used by 2:30 p.m.

Once the clinic opened, a steady stream of vehicles weaved through the elaborate drive-through system in the stadium parking lot to arrive at a testing tent. Individuals remained in the safety of their vehicles and were tested for COVID-19 by Tidelands Health medical professionals.

“Today’s testing clinic was an incredible success for our community, and we are so grateful to our partners with DHEC, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, local government and local law enforcement for helping make this free clinic a reality,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer of Tidelands Health. “The tremendous turnout at today’s clinic shows the demand in our area for widespread COVID-19 testing. Our team will continue to help meet that demand with additional free testing clinics scheduled throughout our region – from Little River to Georgetown – over the next several weeks.”

A COVID-19 test is given during a community clinic at Pelicans stadium.With the supply of test kits exhausted by mid-afternoon Saturday, the clinic closed earlier than scheduled. But residents still have a chance to get tested at one of several upcoming free clinics.

Tidelands Health has partnered with DHEC’s Pee Dee Region Testing Coalition to offer large-scale community testing across the Grand Strand. DHEC supplies the testing media, and Tidelands Health donates manpower to staff the free clinics.

The initial goal is to conduct 8,000 tests – representing 2 percent of the region’s total population – by the end of June.

The testing clinics are free and open to all individuals. Pre-screening is not required. Individuals under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to give consent for testing. Participants simply drive up to be tested and remain in their vehicles throughout the process.

Additional clinics scheduled so far:

Community testing helps health leaders better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on the community and provides a convenient way for individuals to know whether they have the virus. Individuals may have COVID-19 but not show any symptoms, which makes testing even more important to help limit the spread of the virus to others.

“The best way to understand the impact that the virus is having on our community is to test for it,” said James Bruckner, DHEC’s Pee Dee regional public health director.

Tidelands Health, which has been a regional leader in COVID-19 testing and response, will also continue to offer medical assessments and testing for symptomatic patients at various Tidelands Health Family Medicine locations as it has done since March.

Anyone with questions about the testing program can call the Tidelands Health COVID-19 nurse line at 843-652-8800 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or 1-866-TIDELANDS, which operates 24 hours a day.

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Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 60 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.