Questioning SD testing procedures


The South Dakota Department of Health says it can provide same day results for cornoavirus testing.

But a Sioux Falls man, who had legitimate fears he could be a carrier of the virus, says that’s not how it worked out for him.

James Jacobson is questioning the efficiency of the state’s testing protocol after encountering a lot of obstacles to discover he didn’t have coronavirus after all.

When James Jacobson set out on an international trip in February, coronavirus concerns were mostly limited to China. But Jacobson ended up the hot spots for the virus as it spread.

“I started out in Italy, Then I also hit the Middle East–Israel Jordan, Egypt and the UA,” Jacobson said.

James Jacobson in Italy

Jacobson returned home on March 4, feeling jet-lagged and like he was suffering from a cold or allergies.

“I was feeling down a little bit, but I was also very concerned that I was coming into contact with a lot of people–my employees in our office, my family; especially my mother who has chronic respiratory issues. I was just very concerned and I wanted to be tested to be sure I hadn’t contracted the coronavirus somewhere,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson’s daughter is also pregnant, so he called his doctor to see if he could be tested.

“I have people in my life who may be susceptible to this illness. I just want to make sure. On Friday as well the president had stated, anybody who wanted a test could get one. So I didn’t think there was going to be a problem,” Jacobson said.

“When people need a test they can get a test,” President Trump said on March 6.

But after his doctor checked with the State, Jacobson found out he was not a candidate. Jacobson didn’t give up though. On Monday he called the Department of Health himself and was told he could take the test.

“It was explained to me that the tests have to go by carrier up to Pierre and that would happen Tuesday night and by Wednesday they would begin the testing and that I should know fairly quickly,” Jacobson said.

He waited for a call on Wednesday.

“I noticed by 4 o’clock that the state had updated their website with the new information, including one male from Minnehaha County–ages 50 to 59, which would be me. But I hadn’t heard anything yet. So I called my doctor’s office. They said they hadn’t heard anything yet,” Jacobson said.

Finally, this morning, Jacobson learned from his doctor that he had tested negative for the virus. But he’s concerned that it took two days to find out, while he could have been unwittingly spreading the illness.

“There are drive through testing in Germany and South Korea–where you drive through and they’ve got people there with hazmat suits. Take your sample, give you a ticket and then you can go and check online whether or not your ticket number is positive or negative and therefore you can make personal decisions about your health much quicker,” Jacobson said.

The University of Washington has launched a drive-through test on its campus. South Dakota currently can test 850 patients. The South Dakota Department of Health says health care providers have adequate testing supplies and it will continue to request more from the CDC and other sources as needed.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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