Both Sanford and Avera approved for COVID-19 testing – KELO AM-FM

Posted: March 25, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Monday, March 23, 2020 3:30 p.m. CDT by Todd Epp

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. ( -- Sioux Falls two health care giants--Avera Health and Sanford Health--have been approved to test for COVID-19.

First, the release from Sanford:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Sanford Health has launched a test for the COVID-19 virus using an FDA-approved method under Emergency Use Authorization.

Tests will be available at Sanford clinics and medical centers, and processed at the Sanford laboratory in Sioux Falls. Patients will receive results in 24-48 hours.To be tested, patients must meet high-risk criteria and have a physician order.

The new Sanford testing capability will enable far more patients to be tested with faster turnaround time.

Sanford estimates it will be able to process nearly 400 tests per day, with plans to double that capacity in the coming weeks.The expanded testing will also provide public health officials more data about the spread of COVID-19 in the communities Sanford serves.

This was a tremendous effort on the part of our team to rapidly validate and launch our own internal testing, said Dr. Allison Suttle, chief medical officer for Sanford Health. Our testing will deliver faster results, enabling us to provide responsive care and keep our patients and staff safe.

Previously, tests were sent to the state Department of Health or commercial laboratories. Sanford will continue to use these external labs as needed for any overflow testing.

Sanford Healths test is FDA compliant and test results have been validated over the last week.

To get a test, Sanford patients must meet criteria defined by the Centers for Disease Control, including:

If patients are experiencing symptoms, they should call their provider instead of going directly to their clinic.

Sanford is also offering e-visits for COVID-19 care in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Ane-visitis an online questionnaire about symptoms that patients complete from home. A Sanford provider will review and respond within four hours with a treatment plan or prescription, or instruction to be seen in-person for further evaluation or testing.

Next, Avera:

Averas laboratory in Sioux Falls has been verified by the South Dakota Department of Health to perform COVID-19 testing.

The Avera Institute for Human Genetics has worked closely with the governors office as well as the state health department to establish guidelines on how pending tests are processed. This additional testing site will allow processing of up to 200 tests per day. Avera will have the ability to enter these results directly into the patients AveraChart electronic medical record.

The most critical and highly suspicious tests will receive priority. Result time will depend on volume, however, most test results will be able to be returned in a few days and inpatient tests that are considered urgent based on the patients condition can be returned more quickly.

To date, this testing has been conducted by the state health departments laboratory and Averas contract laboratory.

We are incredibly proud of the teamwork that was involved in making this happen so quickly. This will benefit our patients, health care workers and the general public. The health and safety of our patients and communities are the utmost important to Avera. We hope the addition of more testing sites will expedite results and calm worries, said Bruce Prouse, MD, Clinical Vice President of the Avera Laboratory Service Line.

Testing of COVID-19 samples is a complex process. Thanks to Averas background with genetic testing, we have the expertise and equipment to accomplish this, Prouse said. Getting this validation completed so quickly took amazing teamwork by our laboratory staff as well as state health officials. All are working together in the best interest of patients and the greater population.

All test results will be sent to the state for reporting purposes. Patients with positive test results will be contacted with instructions on how to care for themselves at home, symptom management, and when to contact health care provider if symptoms worsen.

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Both Sanford and Avera approved for COVID-19 testing - KELO AM-FM

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