Local doctors discuss COVID-19 testing, vaccine timeline

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A lot of the information you hear about COVID-19 has a political slant to it, but on Monday members of the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls got to hear about the science behind COVID research from doctors.

With COVID rates going up, the doctors say now is not the time to let your guard down when it come to this potentially deadly virus.

COVID-19 has caused 200,000 deaths and counting in the United States in just nine months.

“To put that in perspective, it’s the third leading death following cancer and heart disease. The third leading cause of death if no one else died from COVID this year,” Rotarian Dr. Paul Amundson said.

“Our incidents of COVID is going up if you compare it back in the spring. We’re double the incidents on a daily basis or seven day averages,” Avera Health Dr. Chad Thury said.

“People have been getting it. It’s not because they failed, it’s out there,” Sanford Health Dr. Michael Wilde said.

The doctors says hospitals are getting better at treating COVID patients, but there’s no miracle cure.

They say the testing is also getting a lot better.

“It’s called a four plex test, so it can check for COVID, Influenza A, Influenza B and RSV. That should hopefully, as that rolls out to our facility, increase out testing capacity,” Dr. Thury said.

“We certainly have a reasonable supply of that quick turnaround type tests which we prioritize to those most in need like our ER or in patient facilities,” Dr. Wilde said.

The doctors say a vaccine could roll out in October or November, but it will only be for frontline health care workers and extremely vulnerable people at first.

In the meantime, they said we all have the power to slow the spread of COVID.

“There’s something that you already have and everybody here is wearing it, that decreases the transmission of COVID by 50 percent and that’s wearing a mask,” Dr. Thury said.

“It’s not just a mask, it’s not just hand hygiene, it’s a combination of things like that. What makes sense for you? Just think about what you’re doing out in public,” Dr. Wilde said.

Doctors also stress the importance of getting a flu shot this year to help keep people out of the hospital and save room for COVID patients.

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