Rapid City shelter resident tests positive for COVID-19, mass testing requested
RAPID CITY, S.D. — As South Dakota begins testing in group living facilities this week, questions are coming up now about mass testing another vulnerable group of people.
Executive Director of the Cornerstone Rescue Mission Lysa Allison says a resident of the Women and Children’s Shelter in Rapid City has tested positive for COVID-19.
The woman began showing symptoms last night and was taken to the hospital with her children. “Her children were picked up by family members,” said Allison. “She had been at the shelter for a few months but did not exhibit symptoms until [Monday] night.”
The state unveiled their plan last week to test employees and residents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities over the next four weeks. By the end of the event, over 20,000 people are expected to be tested.
Allison says she has reached out to the state Department of Health to request mass testing at both the Women and Children’s Shelter and the Cornerstone Rescue Mission. As of Tuesday afternoon, she says she hasn’t gotten a response.
“We are intending to get to those types of settings as part of our overall mass testing but if they’ve got positive cases, we’d want to talk to them about that situation to see if it’s the right time to start right now,” said S.D. Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon.
Since early April, Cornerstone has been enforcing new policies that limit the number of people housed in its shelters. No one new has been admitted and staffers recommend people stay inside the shelter or close-by outside but, given that some residents go to work, it’s challenging to limit their outside exposures.
“We do not have the ability or the staff to contract trace where the guests go,” said Allison. “We are continuing to follow the CDC and SD Dept of Health Guidelines by wearing masks, deep cleaning, practicing social distancing and keeping a pulse on the health of our guests.”