Sanford, Avera have approval to test for coronavirus


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Two regional health care providers based in Sioux Falls say they will begin processing tests for the coronavirus after getting regulatory approval.

Sanford Health said initially it will process about 400 tests daily with plans to double that number in the coming weeks. Avera Health said it has the capacity to handle about 200 tests daily.

Testing was previously done at the state lab in Pierre or by commercial labs.

Avera said most test results can be returned in a few days. Hospitalized patients that are considered urgent can be returned more quickly, the Argus Leader reported.

Sanford says it will test people who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for symptoms, including lower respiratory infections, contact with an infected person or travel to a nation with widespread infections.

The new virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough in most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority recover.

“Testing of COVID-19 samples is a complex process. Thanks to Avera’s background with genetic testing, we have the expertise and equipment to accomplish this,” said Dr. Bruce Prouse, the clinical vice president of the Avera Laboratory Service Line.

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