COVID-19 testing important even if you aren’t feeling ill


COVID-19 testing important even if you aren’t feeling ill

Should you be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus even if you’re not feeling sick?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that about 40 percent of transmissions occur before people feel ill.
“Even if you don’t feel sick, it’s a good idea to be tested,” says Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health. “Not only does it provide important information about your health, but it’s also important to public health officials and health care organizations battling the virus.”

Free testing clinics

Tidelands Health, our region’s leader in COVID-19 testing and treatment, has partnered with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer a series of free drive-through testing clinics to the community. 

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The free testing clinics are open to everyone, and pre-screening is not required. Participants under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to give consent for testing.
Individuals interested in being tested simply drive up and remain in their car throughout the process. A complete list of testing locations can be viewed by clicking here.  
“You don’t have to leave the comfort of your car,” Dr. Harmon says. “Whether you have symptoms or not, we’re encouraging people to attend.”


The testing offered through the drive-through clinics is an effective way to determine if someone is capable of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus – whether symptomatic or not, Dr. Harmon says. By learning if you are infected, you can take measures to prevent yourself from spreading the virus to others, such as staying home and self-isolating.
“Large-scale testing will help us better understand this new virus and the impact it is having on our community,” Dr. Harmon says. “For example, we want to get a better sense as to how many people are carrying the virus, which can give us a more refined understanding of risk as our community resumes normal activities.”

Key guidelines

Whether you undergo testing or not, it’s important to continue following the CDC’s guidelines to help limit the spread of the virus, Dr. Harmon says.

  • Make sure to regularly wash your hands with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines by staying at least six feet away from others. Avoid large gatherings.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in places where social distancing is difficult. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • If you aren’t wearing your cloth face covering, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or use the inside of your elbow. Throw away the tissue, and wash your hands immediately afterward.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and can recover at home without medical care. Call 911 immediately if you develop emergency symptoms, including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake or bluish lips or face.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Gerald Harmon

Dr. Gerald Harmon, who has cared for patients in our region for more than 35 years, is a family medicine physician and vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health.

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