Sunday, March 29, 2020, 3:30 pm
This page will be updated regularly as information becomes available.
Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
DHEC continues to work with federal, state and local partners as it investigates COVID-19 cases in South Carolina. DHEC's top priority remains protecting the public during this national and state emergency.
If you are looking for COVID-19 test results, please call the health care provider/facility who collected the sample. Results cannot be obtained from the DHEC Care Line.
If you have general questions about COVID-19, call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.
How to Protect Yourself & Your Family
CDC has provided tips on how to protect yourself and your family. You can also:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow
- Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
Watch for symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you have any symptoms, contact your health care provider or use one of the telehealth resources in SC.
Travelers returning home from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread are recommended to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left that area.
Please refer to CDC’s COVID-19 Travel page for a list of countries and additional travel-related information.
Resources & Guidance
For your Home & Community
- NEW - CDC Manage Anxiety & Stress
- NEW - SCDMH Resources to Help Cope with Coronavirus
- NEW - CDC Resources to Support People Experiencing Homelessness
- CDC Interim Guidance on Preparing Your Household Ready for COVID-19?
- CDC What You Need to Know about COVID-19
- CDC Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on COVID-19
- World Health Organization’s COVID-19 webpage
- CDC COVID-19 and Animals
- CDC Novel Coronavirus Information for Travelers
- CDC Pregnant Women and Children (WIC)
- CDC People at Risk for Serious Illnesses
- CDC Community and Faith Based Organizations
For Healthcare Professionals
What if my patient is requesting to be seen in my clinic for respiratory symptoms?
As standard practice, sick patients should be isolated from others and roomed as quickly as possible. Healthcare personnel should also utilize appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Patients should preferably be placed in a negative pressure room, but a standard room where they will be isolated from other patients can be used. The CDC also has information about Infection Prevention when seeing patients with suspected COVID-19.
If you do not have appropriate equipment to keep you and your staff safe, consider referral to a local telehealth virtual care if available. It is not necessary to refer patients to emergency departments or urgent cares simply to get tested. They should only be referred if you believe they require an urgent medical evaluation. Advise patients to isolate while they are symptomatic.
When should I test for COVID-19?
DHEC has provided guidance to clinicians to decide who may warrant testing. Providers are not required to receive prior approval from DHEC for patients they deem candidates for testing. In general, patients should be symptomatic with respiratory illness and alternative diagnoses should have been considered. Those with known direct close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case or travel to an area with ongoing and sustained transmission within 14 days of symptom onset have a higher likelihood of testing positive. Additional testing considerations are available from the CDC.
Where do I send the NP specimen for testing?
Only one nasopharyngeal swab is required for testing. If patients are generally well and being sent home, please utilize private laboratories, if possible. The Public Health Laboratory (PHL) can also run samples collected by providers. Directions for completion of paperwork and for specimen transport to the DHEC PHL can be found here.
How long will it take to get test results?
Results from private laboratories vary depending on which laboratory is utilized. Please speak with your lab representative in order to give accurate expectations to your patients. Results from the PHL usually take 24-48 hours to report and are available on the Result Point website. That timeframe may change based on testing volume or demand. Whichever laboratory is used, patients should be advised to isolate while their results are pending. Also, their home/close contacts should minimize their activities outside the home as well. Please report the results to your patient as soon as you receive them. DHEC does not provide results directly to patients.
A patient tested positive. What do I do?
If results were from a private lab, please notify DHEC of positive result. COVID-19 is an immediately reportable condition on the South Carolina List of Reportable Conditions. When reporting, please alert DHEC if your patient is 65 years old or greater, 5 years old or younger, pregnant, hospitalized, or someone who resides in or attends a congregate setting (e.g. nursing home, long-term care facility, behavioral health facility, or child care).
Please notify the patient of their results and advise them to remain in isolation until they are fever free for at least three days without the use of fever reducing medication and at least seven days from the start of their initial symptoms. Their home/close contacts should remain in quarantine for seven days after the patient’s period of isolation ends.
Do I need to notify patients who were in the clinic they were exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Since most exposures between patients in a physician’s office are brief and are not in close contact for a prolonged period, a notification of other patients in the clinic is likely unnecessary.
Do I and my staff need to quarantine?
If the patient was wearing a surgical mask and you and your personnel caring for the patient were wearing appropriate PPE, the risk of transmission is low and health care staff may continue to work while monitoring for symptoms and checking their temperature twice a day for two weeks. If available, you and your staff who cared for the patient may wish to wear face masks while you monitor for symptoms. If you or your staff develop fever or respiratory illness, you should isolate and seek medical evaluation. Please see the CDC website for risk stratification in your decision-making process.
- NEW - Testing Prioritization for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Testing and Case Reporting - (PDF)
- Latest Guidance on the Discontinuation of Isolation and Quarantine & DHEC Guidance on the Management of Healthcare Personnel (HCPs) who are positive for COVID-19 or exposed to COVID-19 patients - (PDF)
- Updated DHEC and CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Patient Testing & Global / River Cruises (COVID-19) - (PDF)
- View Previous Health Alert Network (HAN) Updates
For Healthcare Facilities
- Nursing Home Patient TB Screening Memo
- FAQs for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
- DHEC Guidance for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities on Visitation Restrictions
- CDC Long-Term Care Facilities: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19s
- CDC Resources for Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals Preparing for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed 2019-nCoV
- CDC Information for Laboratories on 2019-nCoV
- CDC Interim Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Known or Under Investigation for 2019-nCoV in a Healthcare Setting
- Hospitals ONLY: Alternate Care Site Assessment Form
- Hospitals ONLY: Internal Medical Surge Form
- FAQ: Suspension of CON Requirements for COVID-19 Response
For First Responders
Schools & Childcare Centers
Colleges & Universities
- DHEC Higher Education Guidance on Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 - (PDF)
- CDC Mass Gatherings Interim Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Colleges & Universities
- Information and Resources for Campuses
- SC Commission on Higher Education
- National Association of College and University Business Officers
For Correctional Facilities
- Correctional Facilities Guidance - (PDF)
The agency continues to connect with schools, businesses, state agencies, at-risk groups and others in order to respond to COVID-19.