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Prisma Health offering limited drive-through coronavirus testing

The hospital will be offering testing for COVID-19 but people must be referred and make an appointment.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Prisma Health is offering a limited drive-through testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the illness continues to spread. 

The service began Monday at both the Columbia and Greenville locations in South Carolina. 

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However, the testing is only for patients with electronic orders from their Prisma Health provider or from a Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider. Paper orders from physicians will not be accepted. 

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The hospital says that in Columbia, testing also is available to patients sent from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC).

Patients must have a provider order for the COVID-19 test and official personal identification. In Columbia, patients must have an appointment for their test.

Columbia hours and location

  • Columbia: The site will operate 9 a.m.-Noon and 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
  • The Columbia site is outside Prisma Health Richland Hospital North Portal, near the Emergency Department.

Greenville hours and location

  • Greenville: The site will operate 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The Greenville site is on Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Medical Campus on the lower level of the South Parking Deck.

Prisma Health says right now they're  not able to provide testing to community members without a physician order. Plans are underway to expand testing for more people at additional sites, which will be announced as soon as possible, according to the hospital.

Upon arrival at the drive-through location, patients will remain in their car as a sample is collected. The results from samples collected from this location will be sent to the provider or SC DHEC. Care providers will provide results to the patient. 

The agency says because of likely backlog of testing at labs, patients may not receive their results for four to seven days. 

Because that healthcare provider suspects that the patient may have COVID-19, we ask that patients self-isolate at home until they hear the results of their test. This is vital to help protect the community from potential exposure. If the patient’s symptoms worsen, they should contact their physician or Prisma Health Virtual Visit provider.

For current information on home isolation and how to protect your family members from potential exposure, please review this guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This information can also be accessed online at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html

Prisma Health Virtual Visits, which launched earlier this month, include a new on-demand video option in addition to the existing online visit option. To access the free virtual visits, use promo code COVID19To learn more about Virtual Visits or create an account, visit www.PrismaHealth.org/Virtual-Visit.

What is the Coronavirus? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia. DHEC is working with CDC to identify all those who might have been in contact with these individuals. These people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

People can help to prevent the spread of the virus in the following ways:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. And, always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • stay home when you’re sick.
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue and put it in the trash immediately.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • get the influenza vaccine.

For general questions about COVID-19 residents should visit the DHEC website at scdhec.gov/COVID19 or the CDC website here.

For residents concerned about their own personal health or are showing symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call your personal doctor or healthcare provider. DHEC has launched its Care Line. If residents have general questions about COVID-19, the DHEC Care Line is here to help. Call 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call volume has been high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time.