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Oregon Public Broadcasting / Lee Jinman AP

Testing at long term, assisted living facilities not mandatory


Jerry Oster, WNAX - May 21, 2020

PIERRE, SD - Testing of all residents of nursing homes and assisted living centers in South Dakota will begin this week (May18).

Heading up the Long Term Care Advisory Task Force is Doug Ekeren. “One of the concerns of the coronavirus is that a lot of people don’t exhibit symptoms,” he observes. “By doing a baseline testing in long term and assisted living facilities it will makes us aware if we have residents or staff who might be positive.”

Ekeren says the testing sets a starting point.  “The testing is as good as the day of the test.  I could get tested today but be exposed to somebody with the virus tomorrow and become posisitive.  But it at least gives a baseline.”

Residents can opt out of the tests if they want, according to Ekeren. “We want to be respectful of both residents and staff being able to opt out,” he said. “But we are offering it and are communicating with families and staff that this is an opportunity to be tested.”

The tests will cover about 7,500 residents and staff statewide.



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