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South Dakota to give out 1M COVID-19 tests amid pandemic surge

State health officials said late Friday they had procured the million FlowFlex antigen rapid home test kits, which will be made available free of charge to residents who want one. Besides distributing the tests via testing partners, the state Department of Health will also publish on its website and social media channels a list of locations where residents can pick up a test. 

SD Flowflex Tests.jpg
The South Dakota Department of Health will distribute 1 million free COVID-19 antigen rapid home tests made by FlowFlex, as the state experiences a rapid surge in new COVID-19 cases.
Submitted / South Dakota Department of Health
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota health officials plan to give away 1 million COVID-19 tests as residents try to navigate an omicron variant-fueled surge in cases while struggling with a limited supply of commercially available at-home test kits.

The South Dakota Department of Health says it will receive the tests Thursday, Jan. 13, and plans to release them via testing partners, such as in-state health systems. The number of people who have newly tested positive for COVID-19 in the state is far outstripping the number of people who have newly recovered, with active cases rising 1,292 to 17,219 on Monday, Jan. 10.

State health officials said late Friday they had procured the million FlowFlex antigen rapid home test kits, which will be made available free of charge to residents who want one. Besides distributing the tests via testing partners, the state Department of Health will also publish on its website and social media channels a list of locations where residents can pick up a test.

“In light of the recent COVID-19 surge throughout the country, the State of South Dakota and Department of Health decided it was time to do even more,” Joan Adam, interim secretary of the state Department of Health, said in a statement. “This additional testing option will bolster our testing capacity and help slow the spread of the virus in our communities.”

The home test kits can be done in as little as 15 minutes and come with a step-by-step instruction guide.

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A Forum News Service spot check of pharmacies in Sioux Falls found few had COVID-19 rapid tests for sale due to rapid sellouts, despite limits on how many test kits could be purchased at a time.

The following are the state Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Monday. All data is the latest available but should be considered preliminary and could be updated at a later date by health officials.

Vaccinations

  • INITIAL DOSE ADMINISTERED (IF 2-DOSE VACCINE): 635,142 people, 71.8% of state's population*
  • FULLY VACCINATED: 509,840 people, 57.6% of state's population
  • BOOSTER DOSE RECEIVED: 182,757 people, 35.8% of state's vaccinated population

*Note: The percentage presented here via the CDC differs from the state Department of Health percentage posted on its online dashboard, because the department's data indicates percentage of state population age 5 and older, not the state's total population.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 1,683 (seven-day daily average: 2,357)
  • CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 17,219
  • TOTAL CASES: 191,094
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 171,347

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS: 22 (seven-day daily average: 33)
  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 307
  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 9,250
  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED AMONG CASES: 6
  • TOTAL DEATHS AMONG CASES: 2,528
Jeremy Fugleberg is an editor who manages coverage of health (NewsMD), history and true crime (The Vault) for Forum News Service, the regional wire service of Forum Communications Co, and is a member of the company's Editorial Advisory Board.
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