Urban Indian Health handing out thousands of free COVID-19 tests

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the COVID-19 case count climbs, a local non-profit is handing out free at-home COVID tests.

South Dakota Urban Indian Health has distributed 1,500 free COVID self-test kits since July, including 300 the week of Christmas. They stopped last week due to high demand and short supply.

“What really is shocking is the price of the at-home tests that are in the stores. We’re able to reach people who might not be able to afford that because we’re offering for free, so I’ve just been blown away with the demand that was there, I wasn’t expecting it,” SDIUH CEO Michaela Seiber said.

“Kind of helps eliminate family stress when they can come in and get those tests. If they have family members or children or you’re just questioning a symptom,” Nurse Practitioner Theresa Newcomb said.

Nurse Practitioner Theresa Newcomb expects demand to remain high in the new year.

“Honestly, I think we’ll see an uptick with the spread of the virus and everything, people gathering for holidays and different things, but I’m sure we’ll probably see more of an uptick,” Newcomb said.

They do keep a small reserve for employees as the entire staff is tested every Tuesday.

“No matter if they see patients or not they all take a test and we’ve caught quite a few Asymptomatic people,” Seiber said.

A shipment of 2,000 self-test kits is expected to arrive this week and will be divvied up between the locations in Pierre and Sioux Falls.

“The people in your household, however many you want to test, that’s how many you can take at one time but you can always come back and get more if you need it. We’ve had a lot of people calling but honestly, the easiest way will just be to stop by one of the clinics to pick them up,” Seiber said.

All in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Seiber says the COVID-19 tests are still available in Pierre and expects the Sioux Falls location to be restocked by week’s end.

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