ROCK HILL, SC — South Carolina is grappling with high cases of the flu, and now some local school districts are taking steps to combat the rise in the disease.
These include a new clinic that has opened at a Rock Hill elementary school to help families and parents to diagnose their children quickly.
Andrea Blanton, mother and nurse, knows firsthand the impact illnesses like the flu can have on school children.
“I’m also an ER nurse, so we’re looking at it like crazy. We’re just doing things at home to protect them, to keep them good,” Blanton said.
This is where the Rock Hill Schools come in to ensure the safety of the children. The district has just partnered with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and opened a free flu and Covid testing clinic at Belleview Elementary School.
“Hopefully, knowing you’re either COVID-positive or flu-positive will reduce transmission,” said Kendra Neely, school services program manager at DHEC.
Neely says the test sites were made possible with federal funding. School districts must apply for the clinics, but once they open, teachers, students, and their families can use the facilities.
“Right now, with the flu numbers so high, I think access to testing has been limited. It was difficult to see a provider or get in and out of emergency care or the emergency room,” Neely said. “Hopefully this can be an added benefit to the community.”
Rock Hill principals say more than 400 students tested positive for the flu in November alone. In addition, almost 200 students reported symptoms but were never tested for flu or Covid.
“It’s spreading very quickly,” said Blanton, who added that she’s grateful and hopeful the program will help children. “Like I said, I work in an ER so people have a hard time getting in and have to wait for hours just to get tested. So this is very convenient.”
DHEC tells Channel 9 that about 20 school districts across the state have expressed interest in the program. Near Rock Hill, the school districts of York, Chesterfield and Lancaster have signed up for these clinics.
YSD1 offers tests on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at York Comprehensive High and Floyd D Johnson Technology Center. For those in Rock Hill, you can get information about testing by calling 803-980-2016.
(WATCH BELOW: Teens accused of Rock Hill murder plot remain in jail)
©2022 Cox Media Group