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Sanford Health launches in-house testing for COVID-19

Mar 23, 2020 02:33PM ● By MED Magazine

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 Health’s 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:

  • Active lower respiratory symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache and
  • Contact with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, or
  • Recent travel to a Level 3 country as determined by the CDC.

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. An e-visit is 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.