From staff reports
Through a partnership with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Beaufort County Library branches are now one of many local distribution sites that offer free OnGo COVID-19 rapid test kits to Lowcountry residents.
Residents can pick up a kit at any branch library or Bookmobile during normal operating hours. Each box includes two tests. The individual requesting a test kit must be present to receive the kit (no one can pick up kits for someone else). Additionally, DHEC requires the individual to list their date of birth.
Residents are advised to call their local branch before visiting to check on current inventory, as supplies are limited.
Beaufort Branch: 843-255-6456
Bluffton Branch: 843-255-6497
Hilton Head Branch: 843-255-6526
Lobeco Branch: 843-255-6479
St. Helena Branch: 843-255-6540
Also, at-home tests are now available at DHEC Public Health Departments, including the Beaufort County Public Health Department at 601 Wilmington Street (855-472-3432).
Residents can used DHEC’s testing locator (https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-locations) to determine if their local health department has rapid tests available.
At-home test results are not required to be reported to DHEC but can help an individual take appropriate action to monitor their health and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.
At-home rapid tests are in limited supply, and residents are not guaranteed a test when attempting to acquire one. One test kit, containing two tests, will be given to an individual (of any age) who arrives in person to a Public Health Department (PHD). Individuals must be physically present to receive a test kit. A person may not pick up test kits for other people.
A person with symptoms must not come into a PHD for a test kit. Anyone not feeling well should notify the staff performing screening at the door that they have symptoms and staff will bring a test kit to them.
Residents are asked to practice patience when attempting to acquire a rapid test and make alternative plans to get tested in case they cannot obtain one. There are testing locations across the state for residents to visit if they are experiencing symptoms or are otherwise recommended to be tested.
Fifty percent of the rapid at-home tests DHEC receives will be distributed to the community. The rest will be provided to first responder agencies, state government agencies, school districts, long-term care facilities, and county and state correctional facilities. It is imperative that staff in these entities who are symptomatic or close contacts can quickly be made aware of their COVID-19 status so they can act accordingly and protect the health of those they serve from potential spread of illness.
DHEC strongly encourages vaccinations for ages 5 and up, booster shots for those 12 and older, and the use of masks to protect ourselves and each other from virus spread. Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and to protect those around you.
Find a vaccination site near you on the vaccine locator (https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-locations) or by calling the Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110.