Senator Tim Scott requests more COVID-19 testing for nursing homes, communities of color

US Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) sent letters to US Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, and Governor Henry McMaster, urging them to increase COVID-19 capacity for high-risk groups.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported 595 COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths across 62 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in SC.

Scott asked Azar and McMaster to “prioritize, among other areas, rapid point-of-care testing capacity for long-term care facilities and other providers servicing disproportionately older Americans.”

He also referenced data collected in Europe, which suggests that “up to 50% of COVID-19 related fatalities in Europe were residents of long-term care facilities.”

In addition to the elderly, Scott asked that more focus be placed on “underserved communities, communities of color, and communities with a high prevalence of health conditions.” Scott requested that Azar “work to leverage safety-net providers like community health centers, along with drive-through testing sites and other appropriate models, to expand testing” within these communities.

Scott also noted an apparent deficit in testing capacity statewide. According to a “Testing Overview” published by the Trump Administration, SC is “among the eight states with the lowest monthly testing capacity per 1,000 people.” Scott concluded by saying that he looks forward to working with federal and state leaders “to ensure appropriate allocation” of funds for “priority areas.”