‘Test before turkey’: S.C. governor, health officials emphasize COVID-19 precautions over Thanksgiving

Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:29 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and health officials spoke on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and encouraged holiday safety before Thanksgiving.

During a Thursday presser, Gov. McMaster debuted a new motto for South Carolinians this Thanksgiving: “test before turkey.”

The governor spoke alongside health officials Thursday evening urging residents to take care not to spread COVID-19 over the holiday.

To do that, McMaster said everyone should get tested before meeting family for Thanksgiving, if they plan to gather.

He also said people should host dinners outside, if possible.

The governor said he will be issuing an executive order for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to provide school districts with COVID-19 rapid testing kits.

Officials with the DHEC said they will be authorizing school nurses to be trained in how to perform the tests which are BinaxNow rapid antigen tests made by Abbott and have been provided to South Carolina from the federal government.

McMaster said the goal was to have the test kits the week after Thanksgiving so schools can begin the process. According to the governor, it will be up to every parent to decide if they want their child to be tested.

“If you want your child to be tested you need to sign the form and send it in,” the governor said. “If you don’t, just say so.”

He said the goal of the order was that so students, teachers and staff can be tested on a regular basis.

On Thursday, officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 1,410 newly-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

That marks the ninth time this month the number of confirmed cases in the Palmetto State exceeded 1,000.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 189,251, probable cases to 11,909, confirmed deaths to 3,924, and 277 probable deaths.

The percent of positive tests has also remained extremely high - hitting 17% on Wednesday.

According to spokesperson Brian Symmes, McMaster would not be implementing further restrictions.

“As he’s said many times before, Gov. McMaster believes the best way to curb the spread of the virus is for South Carolinians to put into practice what we’ve all learned – prioritize the health and safety of the elderly and other at-risk individuals, practice social distancing when possible, and wear a face covering when appropriate,” Symmes said.

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