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Avera lab approved for COVID-19 testing

Expansion allows for processing up to 200 more tests a day, Avera says

Photo courtesy of Avera The photos above and below show testing conducted at the Avera laboratory in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

SIOUX FALLS — Avera’s laboratory in Sioux Falls will be helping to expand the region’s capacity to test for cases of COVID-19. Having another testing site in South Dakota will allow for processing of up to 200 additional tests a day, Avera Health said. The Avera lab would process COVID-19 tests for Avera patients in both South Dakota and Minnesota, an Avera spokesperson said Monday.

The Avera Health system announced Monday that the South Dakota Department of Health verified the Sioux Falls lab to perform COVID-19 testing. Up until that point, the testing was done by the South Dakota Department of Health’s laboratory and Avera’s 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 of the utmost importance to Avera. We hope the addition of more testing sites will expedite results and calm worries,” said Dr. Bruce Prouse, clinical vice president of the Avera Laboratory Service Line.

The Avera Institute for Human Genetics worked closely with the South Dakota Department of Health and the South Dakota Governor’s Office to establish guidelines on how the tests are processed, Avera said.

“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,” 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.”

Using the Avera laboratory for COVID-19 testing would allow for up to 200 additional tests to be processed per day, Avera said. However, the most critical and suspicious tests would be given priority.

Test results will be given to the health department in the patient’s home state for reporting purposes. Patients who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted with instructions on how to care for themselves at home, how to manage symptoms, and when to contact a health care provider if their symptoms get worse, Avera said.

An Avera spokesperson said Monday that the Avera lab would process COVID-19 tests for Avera patients in Minnesota as well as South Dakota. However, if there are positive test results for a Minnesota resident, they will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health.

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