Transit system partners with DHEC, local governments to provide screening service
NORTH CHARLESTON (Jan. 26, 2021) — The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will partner to offer Covid-19 testing at two of the transit system’s key hubs.
Beginning Monday, Feb. 1, mobile testing kiosks provided by DHEC will operate at the CARTA Mary Street stop, 63 Mary Street (adjacent to the City of Charleston parking garage), and the CARTA SuperStop, 3376 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston.
Beginning Feb. 4, walk-up testing will be available from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the SuperStop.
Testing will continue to be available from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Mary Street.
No appointment is necessary at either location.
Pre-registration for testing is available online at www.gogettested.com. Those seeking tests can also register onsite with assistance from staff.
“The partnership offers readily available and much-needed testing for transit-dependent individuals,” said CARTA Board Chairman Mike Seekings. “Additionally, given the central location of both testing sites, many will now be able to walk to get a Covid-19 screening. Ultimately, this program is addressing an acute transportation issue related to testing during a national health crisis.”
Tests will be administered through the WellHealth GoGetTested program and samples will be collected orally via pain-free oropharyngeal (OP) swab. Turnaround time for results is 48-96 hours. Results will be provided by email or text message.
The program is being made possible by the cooperation and support of Charleston County, the City of Charleston, the City of North Charleston and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments.
“These important testing opportunities are another example of the shared successes DHEC continues to have with essential partners like CARTA to ensure all South Carolinians, including our underserved communities, have equal access to testing,” said Myra Reece, DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs. “We appreciate the support of the local governments, community officials and political leaders who’ve helped bring these new testing opportunities to fruition during our going battle against COVID-19.”
The possibility for the program in the Charleston region arose after SC Rep. Marvin Pendarvis identified a similar effort underway in Columbia.
“I’m grateful to DHEC, CARTA and our local governmental partners for making this vision a reality in such a short period of time,” Rep. Pendarvis said. “When DHEC approached me about the opportunity, I was enthused because CARTA provides an essential, yet often overlooked, role in our local economy. The health and safety of its riders and operators is paramount, and providing screening services at two key hubs will go a long way in sustaining our community amidst a national health crisis.”
Once the program was recommended, Charleston County and the region’s two largest municipalities worked quickly to make the testing sites a reality.
“Over the next few months, we hope the vast majority of our region and country have the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “But until then, making testing readily available, social distancing, and washing hands remains imperative. The free, walk-up site at the CARTA Superstop allows for direct service within the community to help slow the spread.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg added:
“As we continue working to keep our communities safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of widespread testing is paramount. That’s why I’m so proud to have worked alongside key partners like DHEC, CARTA, Charleston County, the City of North Charleston and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments to bring those vital testing opportunities to the folks who need them.
The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is a public transportation system dedicated to providing affordable transit in the Charleston, S.C., community through local fixed routes, on-demand paratransit and express commuter service. For the latest on CARTA, visit ridecarta.com, like us on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @RideCARTA. All customers are encouraged to plan rides and track buses with the CARTA-endorsed Transit app.