With COVID-19 rates decreasing in South Carolina, Prisma Health will begin shuttering its hospital-based drive-thru COVID-19 testing and moving those tests to physician practices. The drive-thru testing locations will be phased out starting on Friday, March 26 — some physician practice offices are already offering COVID-19 tests.
The health system can provide patients with a testing order through their own physicians, virtual care visits or through the Prisma COVID-19 hotline — 1-833-2-PRISMA.
Greenville Memorial Hospital, Laurens County Hospital and Greer Memorial Hospital drive-thru locations will close on Friday. Oconee Memorial Hospital’s testing will close on April 9.
“We encourage everyone to continue testing for any suspected COVID-19 by leveraging the framework of testing options now broadly available throughout the state. We also urge everyone to continue to socially distance, wear masks in crowds outside the home and to wash hands often — even if they are vaccinated,” said Dr. Saria Saccocio, Prisma’s ambulatory chief medical officer and co-chair of its vaccine task force, in a release.
“With masking, social distancing, cleaning and scrupulous adherence to protocols, we will ensure patients are kept safe during their visits,” said Saccocio. “Depending on the layout of each physician office, some locations are doing the test collection curbside or reserving COVID-19 testing for the end of day, while others are using an alternate entrance and rooms near the back of the practice. Everyone entering practices will be screened and masked. And, just like during flu season, anyone who is potentially ill will be sequestered apart from other patients.”
Symptomatic coronavirus patients that want to visit a physician, but do not have a Prisma primary physician will be directed to a Prisma Health Urgent Care site. People can also select more testing options at the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s website. Internet Explorer should not be used to access the site, according to Prisma’s release.
The health system will also expand patient visitation starting Wednesday, March 24. Facilities will still allow one visitor each day, but hours will be extended. Adult patients’ partners may now stay longer and overnight in some cases. Pediatric patients can have two visitors.
Visitors accompanying patients must wear masks. Those approved to spend the night can remove their masks when Prisma team members are not in the room.