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Prisma Health will transition patient COVID-19 testing to physician offices as well as open some patient visitation due to decreasing COVID rates

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

GREENVILLE, SC—Due to decreasing rates of COVID-19 in South Carolina, Prisma Health has begun phasing out its hospital-based drive-thru COVID-19 testing and transitioning these services to its physician practices. In addition, Prisma Health will expand some patient visitation, beginning this Wednesday, March 24.

Hospital-based drive-thru testing locations will begin to phase out on Friday, March 26, with some physician offices already offering COVID-19 testing for their patients.

Both changes are sparked by the decreasing rates of COVID-19 in S.C.

Patients can receive an order for testing from their Prisma Health provider, virtual care visit or Prisma Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-2-PRISMA. Patients with Prisma Health providers will be tested at those primary care physician offices.

“With masking, social distancing, cleaning and scrupulous adherence to protocols, we will ensure patients are kept safe during their visits,” said Saria Saccocio, MD, ambulatory chief medical officer for Prisma Health and co-chair of its vaccine task force. “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.”

Patients who are symptomatic and want to be seen by a provider to discuss treatment options in an office-visit setting – but don’t have a Prisma Health primary care doctor – will be directed to Prisma Health Urgent Care sites. For additional testing options outside of Prisma Health, community members can access the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's website for a list of all testing sites – including those offering weekday, weekend and free options – throughout the state. Do not use Internet Explorer to access this site. Use Chrome, Safari or another web browser. 

“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.”

Prisma Health’s drive-thru testing sites will be phased out beginning this Friday, March 26.

  • Greenville Memorial Hospital, Laurens County Hospital, and Greer Memorial Hospital drive-thru locations will close at the end of the day on Friday.
  • Richland Hospital and Tuomey Hospital drive-thru testing locations will close at the end of day, Friday, April 2.
  • Oconee Memorial Hospital testing, which holds testing at 105 Omni Dr. Suite B, will close at end of day on Friday, April 9. The site is by appointment only; once patients have a provider order, they can call (864) 482-3701 to make an appointment for testing.

Meanwhile, Prisma Health facilities will also expand some patient visitation, effective Wednesday, March 24. In the hospitals, visitation will remain limited to just one care partner each day under most circumstances, although hours will be extended.

Key visitation changes include the following:

  • Adult patients will be permitted one care partner between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. One care partner may also be allowed for longer visitation, including overnight stays, if that patient requires extra care. Any overnight visitation must be approved in advance by the attending doctor and hospital administration.
  • Most pediatric patients – including pediatric intensive care units – are permitted two care partners between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and one care partner from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Children in the neonatal ICU and special-care nursery may only have one care partner visit at a time, except for a one-hour transition time when two care partners can be present.
  • In practices or outpatient settings, ambulatory patients are permitted one care partner; ambulatory pediatric patients two-months-old and younger are permitted two care partners.
  • For patients undergoing special procedures such as colonoscopy or ambulatory surgery, one care partner is allowed but must stay in a waiting room unless the site has private space for a patient. The care partner may also go to post-procedure areas for discharge instructions.

All care partners must continue to wear masks during visits, except for those limited situations of overnight visitation. Care partners who remain at night may remove their masks when medical professionals are not in the room.

Partners with possible COVID-19 symptoms should not visit. People over age 65 or those with chronic illnesses should refrain from being a care partner unless they are two weeks past their final COVID-19 vaccination date.

Care partners must remain with patients or in designated waiting areas; they cannot visit areas such as cafeterias or vending areas.

For more information about visitation restrictions, visit PrismaHealth.org/VisitorRestrictions.

For more information about COVID-19 and Prisma Health’s continued response – including how to register for vaccines when eligible – visit PrismaHealth.org/Vaccine.

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 outpatient sites with nearly 2,000 physicians, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals.

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