Rapid COVID-19 testing to arrive in three West River hospitals

PIERRE, S.D. – The ability to process COVID-19 tests within minutes is on its way to South Dakota, including three hospitals West River.

South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said in a Wednesday afternoon press conference, nine Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test machines will be deployed to eight locations across the state.

  • Prairie Lakes Healthcare System, Watertown
  • Community Memorial Hospital, Redfield
  • Huron Regional Medical Center, Huron
  • Mobridge Regional Hospital, Mobridge
  • Bennett County Hospital, Martin
  • Fall River Hospital, Hot Springs
  • Monument Health, Spearfish

In addition, the City of Sioux Falls will receive two machines.

According to Abbott, the machines are able to detect COVID-19 in as little as five minutes and due to its size, can be used “in more non-traditional places.”

“We focused on areas of the state where the hospital system doesn’t have ready access to some of the more commercial lab capacity that we have in the state,” said Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon. “We also wanted to make sure some of our communities that have been hardest hit by this have the testing capacity moving forward.”

Malsam-Rysdon says the state forwarded enough supplies to the hospitals to run a collective 720 tests. In a day, the machine can run up to 96 tests. Governor Kristi Noem says requests are in to Vice President Mike Pence and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for more supplies to be shipped to South Dakota.

There have been 1,168 positive tests reported to the South Dakota Department of Health. A total of 8,691 tests have come back negative from the state Public Health Lab and other private labs. Malsam-Rysdon says the state is working to provide more of a breakdown of the results by county. “I’m very hopeful we’ll see that breakdown in a matter of days,” said Malsam-Rysdon.

South Dakota and healthcare leaders say new projections of peak COVID-19 cases have been cut in half, according to latest model data.

Governor Kristi Noem says new projections show the number of hospital beds at peak have dropped from 5,000 to 2,500. The statewide peak is still projected for mid-June however, Sioux Falls is expected to peak in mid-May. Though the state predicts the curve to keep flattening, Noem says they will keep planning for the worst case scenario.

“I want to reiterate – the numbers look better. It looks like we’re going to need less hospital beds and less ventilators,” said Noem. “But I am going to continue to ask that we all stay on the same path that we’ve been on the last two weeks.”

“That’s out of that perspective of we’d rather be prepared to meet the COVID-19 threat that is before us,” said state epidemiologist, Dr. Josh Clayton.

Sioux Falls continues to be home to the majority of coronavirus positive patients in the state. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived in Sioux Falls Wednesday. Thursday, they will tour Smithfield Foods with state and local officials to work towards reopening the pork plant.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News

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