Avera prepping for more COVID-19 testing


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Avera Health is ramping up testing and putting the breaks on business as usual at its hospitals.

Right now there is not a surge in COVID-19 patients to the hospital, but they are treating a few.

Avera is also working on ways to keep patients and families connected without in-person visits.

Avera is currently expanding an app it uses during surgery to inform loved ones of a patient’s progress.

“It is one-way communication in terms of languaging. But they have the opportunity to respond back with an emoji, a limited number of emojis. And we have already seen great success in our surgery area. That is something right now we are in the process of launching in our critical care unit and in our COVID-19 until where we cohort our patients that are being ruled out for that,” Avera Chief Nursing Office Lori Popkes said.

Avera is also getting ready to launch a mental health hotline, similar to its farmer’s crisis hotline, in response to the pandemic.

The health system tells KELOLAND News it is currently testing up to 200 people a day and getting results in 8 to 12 hours.

You must call ahead to be screened for testing.

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