Avera and Sanford now testing for COVID-19

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 6:48 PM CDT
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For some time now people have been saying there isn't enough coronavirus testing being done in South Dakota, but that is changing.

Both Avera Medical Group and Sanford Health announced Monday that they have been verified by the South Dakota Department of Health to perform COVID-19 tests.

One of the reasons the state hasn't been able to do more testing is because it hasn't had enough resources.

Now, with the help of Sanford and Avera, hundreds more tests will be able to be completed each day.

"The state has been overrun, and has done a great job of trying to deal with this on the front line, so we're here to try and help reduce and spread out some of the laboratory testing so that they are not so inundated," Bruce Prouse, MD, Clinical Vice President of the Avera Laboratory said.

As well as provide feedback to South Dakota residents faster, Prouce says both of these labs will provide public health officials more data about the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state.

In both labs, the most critically ill and highly suspicious tests will receive priority.

"We have to be able to triage who needs to be tested, who needs to be monitored closely," Prouce said.

Prouse says being able test for coronavirus on-site is in important step in stopping the spread of the disease.

"We're able to do something to try to flatten the curve, that we have in our facility right now, not waiting for and competing with other healthcare systems around the world to try and get the limited samples," Prouce said.

Although obtaining raw materials may still be an issue, it is estimated that between Sanford and Avera, more than 500 tests per day will be able to be processed, with that number potentially doubling in the coming weeks.