SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Joan Adam, interim secretary of health for the South Dakota Department of Health, shared her thoughts with KELOLAND News on Friday about her background, testing and vaccines.

“I have been actually a long-term Department of Health employee,” Adam said. “I’ve worked for the department a combined 20 years. I took a break midway to stay home with our family, but returned to the department about 12 years ago.”

Recently the state started to distribute a million Flowflex home COVID-19 tests; these will be free for South Dakotans. Adam provided an update on Friday.

“Today, Dan, actually we have been able to receive and turn around, ship out a total of 750,000 of those tests,” Adam said.

She identifies testing as an important tool during the pandemic.

“As everyone knows we’re in another surge of COVID cases and one of the best things we can do is help people identify if they are positive for COVID-19 and then encourage them to stay home and protect others,” Adam said.

Adam also shared her thoughts on more than one kind of vaccine.

“We continue to remind people to get their vaccinations: vaccination for COVID-19, vaccination for influenza,” Adam said. “And our health care partners are doing an incredible job when people come in for one of the vaccines, they’re offering the other.”

The interim secretary highlighted an observed impact, too.

“Most recently we’re seeing a real difference being made by those who have received the booster shot,” Adam said. “So we continue to remind people you have to be up-to-date with your vaccination and to make sure that people pay attention to that and take action to get vaccinated and get their family members vaccinated.”

The latest data from the South Dakota Department of Health lists 189,099 cases of recovery from COVID-19 as well as 411 current hospitalizations.