Department of Health expanding testing technology, options Original

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — COVID-19 testing continues to expand in South Dakota, state health department officials announced Wednesday during a weekly media briefing. 

In November, the DOH helped hold multiple mass testing events across the state. Health officials said the positivity rates from those events have been around 7%. 

As of Wednesday, there have been 620,883 total COVID-19 tests for 332,540 total persons.

State epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton announced the health department is now using text and email to contact people with contact tracing. He announced ways people can confirm the messages are legitimate and not spam. The same system notifies people about positive test results and close contacts.  

Dr. Clayton said “a hiccup” in the new messaging system has been fixed so people won’t receive multiple messages in a short period of time. He also highlighted the CDC changes for quarantine times from close contacts. 

Along with expanding testing, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said at-home saliva testing will expand to all close contacts of a positive case. To date, more than 500 household close contacts who live in the same home have used the tests. 

Malsam-Rysdon said there’s plenty of COVID-19 testing options in Sioux Falls through Avera, Sanford, Hy-Vee pharmacies as well as through the city of Sioux Falls. The DOH and National Guard do not have any additional mass testing events scheduled at this time.

When asked about seeing an increase in the amount of COVID-19 cases from the Thanksgiving holiday, Dr. Clayton said the state will be watching closely about a week after the holiday.

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