DOH plans to add antigen COVID-19 test results to updates; Saliva testing could be part of future testing

KELOLAND.com Original
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Antigen testing for the coronavirus will soon be added to the South Dakota Department of Health daily updates, officials said today.

DOH Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said the DOH will “actually be rolling out yet this week.”

Antigen tests for certain proteins in the body that indicate COVID-19. Antigen tests produce faster results than other COVID-19 tests.

Malsam-Rysdon said antigen testing was a little slower in terms of numbers but now the DOH will be adding antigen results from testing being done around the state.

The Faulkton Area Medical Center is one facility using antigen testing. The facility posted in its Facebook page on Sept. 26 that increases in COVID-19 cases in Faulkton County haven’t been reflected on the DOH website because the DOH is not yet accepting antigen results. The medical center said 22% of 124 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

A Sept 26 post on the Faulkton Area Medical Center page.

DOH officials said the state was also planning to add other COVID-19 testing methods to its pandemic plan.

Malsam-Rysdon said saliva testing is much more convenient in terms of collection. “There are some definite advantages to that,” she said. “We are actively looking at saliva testing how that might be part of our response moving forward”

With a saliva test, a person spits into a tube rather than getting a nose or throat swap.

The Minnesota Department of Health opened its first saliva COVID-19 testing site on Sept. 23. Minnesota officials said on the MDOH website that test results would be available within 48 hours. Individuals would be testing themselves under the guidance of health officals.

Epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton said some commercial laboratories have already started pool laboratory testing. The lab does need to go through internal validation before actively doing (pool testing.)

Pool testing does expand the testing capacities of labs, Clayton said.

Pool testing is when samples from a number of individuals are mixed in a pool or batch for a test. If the pooled sample is COVID-19 positive , each individual sample is tested separately to determine who is infected, according to information from Stanford Medicine.

Pool testing has been used in common areas such as nursing homes and schools.

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