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AccelerateSC discusses expanding virus testing, broadband service in South Carolina

The group, charged with coming up with ways to safely and quickly reopen the state, presented ideas to the governor on Tuesday.

Governor McMaster’s full AccelerateSC task force met on Tuesday to present some of the solutions they’ve determined in re-opening the state.

All five components, Resources, Protection, Governance, Response and Information came together.

“We’ve got to do a lot of balancing and a lot of thinking and a lot of innovating in order to get South Carolina back on top,” explained McMaster.

When it comes to the workforce, the state has paid more than $222 million in unemployment benefits.

With the reopening of outdoor dining at restaurants, they are hoping that unemployment rates begin to drop.

“Our same group has recommended that perhaps we can return to inside dining the week of May 11th,” says Helen Hill, SC Department of Commerce. “Using this model more guidelines are forthcoming with those best practices.”

Outdoor dining at restaurants opened on Monday, May 4th. However, the state is still coming up with guidelines for close contact businesses.

When it comes to testing, DHEC is ramping up its efforts around the state.

DHEC announced that they are anticipating 1000 contact tracers available by June 1st. Those are people who interview people who tested positive for the virus, to determine who they came in contact with.

Another issue that was addressed was broadband around the state. Benedict College president Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, highlighted that federal funding for broadband in rural communities was available in January of this year, but the state hadn’t come up with a plan. She says the time is now.

“It is top of mind for everyone right now, for reasons Lou has articulated,” says Dr. Artis. “It crosses the spectrum from education to medicine and quite frankly the competitive nature of this state of South Carolina. COVID or not, this has to happen for the state to reach its optimal levels of competitiveness.”

Perhaps the most helpful information that came out of Tuesday’s meeting is the announcement of the new AccelerateSC website. It is a one-stop-shop for all things COVID-19 related. The website can be found here.

AcclereateSC plans to continue coming up with solutions that can help bring the state back to a sense of economic normalcy in the coming weeks.


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