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SD DOH finalizing plans for at-home saliva testing for COVID-19

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 3:46 PM MDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As cases continue to surge across the Midwest and in South Dakota, state health officials say they are working to finalize a new way of testing.

At-home testing is now available in neighboring Wyoming, and the South Dakota Department of Health is trying to make it available here.

At-home testing is used to make testing close contact individuals more accessible.

“There’s a person in a household of somebody with somebody who is positive who is identified as a close contact, they would be provided the option if they’d like to get access to at-home saliva-testing,” said South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon.

If a close contact person were to want the test, the steps are simple.

“We would provide them with an individualized URL code for them to go online, order their test. The test will be sent to them upon their request, and then they will go through the specimen collection process and then mail that test back,” Malsam-Rysdon added.

The at-home testing kit would be equipped with a saliva-based test, which officials say is easier for people to use.

Malsam-Rysdon said, “The saliva-testing that we are looking at is PCR based, which is considered that gold standard of testing, so it is both very reliable and valid. We know that that is a good way for us to expand our testing options in South Dakota.”

As for when the testing could be available to South Dakotans, the Department of Health hopes to have a definitive answer sometime in the coming weeks

“We’re negotiating the contract this week, and so I think next week we could have more of a timeline in terms of when people would start to see that. We’ve been working on kind of a parallel track to get some of the technology in place,” Malsam-Rysdon said.

In Wyoming, Governor Gordon used the CARES Act to make at-home tests free for residents, the cost of the tests for South Dakotans, if they were to become available, is still unknown.

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