Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

South Carolina’s daily COVID-19 testing figures are nearing record levels previously only seen on isolated days in early 2021, with spikes over 40,000 daily tests last week.

Laboratory testing ranged from 17,625 to 45,711 tests per day over the week Aug. 22-28, according to the latest data available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Testing reached its peak in January, only recording more than 50,000 tests twice, Jan. 12 and Jan. 18. These figures do not include antibody and antigen tests.

data via CDC

According to state Department of Health and Environmental Control media relations manager Ron Aiken, there are a number of causes for the increase, including the more infectious delta variant driving exposures and infections back up to 2020 peaks. And, with a return to in-person school without mask mandates, FDA approval for vaccines for children under 12 and parents returning to work, more people have felt the need to get vaccinated than before.

In addition, Aiken said, guidelines for school districts and many workplaces now encourage or require testing when experiencing light symptoms, potentially leading to the uptick. Some private entities also require negative COVID-19 tests prior to engaging in certain events and activities.

If you’re among the tens of thousands seeking tests, don’t worry: Increased demand for testing has not significantly impacted average times to get results, though testing times may be longer than earlier in the summer.