Prince of Peace begins mass testing at nursing facility

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) Statewide COVID-19 testing in nursing homes and assisted living centers began this week.

The mass testing is being done to help isolate the spread of the virus.

The state’s plan focuses mass testing at Tier 1 nursing homes and attached assisted-living. These are facilities within counties with substantial community spread.

Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health, said, “Through today, we will have conducted about 4,200 tests with our 1st tier nursing homes and attached assisted livings. The remainder of tests for that tier are scheduled to be done within the next five days.”

Justin Hinker, Prince of Peace Administrator, said, “We were notified last Thursday that we were in Tear 1.”

He added, “The ask or directive was that we have the testing done by this Friday, so by today. So, we did have a quick turn around there and so we had to do some quick planning.”

Prince of Peace was able to be set up and ready to conduct testing for residents and staff on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Hinker said, “They could come really at any time they wanted to. So, we had a tent set up in our courtyard and we had the residents, those were a little more scheduled.”

But, testing was not mandatory for residents or staff, leaving the option to receive or decline testing up to each individual.

“For the residents, it was up to them. They could decline if they wish, or it was up to their decision maker if they wanted them to have that if they weren’t able to make their own decisions,” said Hinker.

Though it was a quick turn around to be able to provide mass testing, they say they’ve heard generally positive feedback.

Tinker said, “I think both groups; residents, staff and families if you wanted to go that far, are glad to be able to, you know, potentially know if they are carrying COIVD-19 or not. So, the response that I’ve heard has been generally positive on getting the testing completed.”

Prince of Peace will know the amount of tests they’ve done by the end of the day Friday.

As for the state, they say they're on schedule with testing for tier 1 and will be conducting tests through the weekend.

They'll then move on to the second tier, which is rest of the nursing homes in the state.