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You can be tested for COVID-19 at no cost

To the Editor:

Covid-19 testing here appears to be robust. If you think you have COVID symptoms or have been in contact with a positive case, you can be tested at no cost. Avera Marshall has also introduced Covid antibody testing for those who believe they have recovered from it. That is important because people carrying sufficient antibodies could donate blood to produce plasma that would help the currently hospitalized. Unfortunately people wanting the antibody test are charged $80 to have it done.

Why not offer the test free to those folks agreeing to donate blood for plasma production? Reportedly, four people can receive life-saving plasma from one antibody donor. Avera could set a positive example by making the test free. Those blessed old Presentation Sisters who founded Avera/McKennan would surely approve.

Like most folks, we have been following the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Lyon County. More than 250 people have tested positive here over the past month. That is alarming.

To the credit of our very good medical establishments, and the alert people protecting our residents in congregate living facilities and nursing homes from infection, we have suffered only two pandemic deaths locally to date. Those losses are of course a tragedy, but represent a low number compared to most places.

Unfortunately, we’re hearing that perhaps 15% of people who have been sick with COVID end up with complications that may be permanent. Blood thickens and clots with the disease causing strokes and heart attacks that if they are not deadly, certainly disable. Lungs get scarred, even young people. COVID is not a walk in the park. Those of us seniors who catch and survive it can easily be left frail and dependent. Definitely we want to avoid or defer COVID as long as possible, God willing.

But without an effective vaccine, most of us likely will be exposed to the disease. When is the issue. Every month we avoid this monster brings better treatment and better outcomes provided that our health care system is not overwhelmed.

Wearing masks indoors in public, and in crowds, and practicing social distancing absolutely slows the spread. Decent surgical style masks are available locally for less than a dollar. Mask use is neither an affront to your manhood or an effective political statement. They help preserve your health and your neighbor’s health. Buy them and wear them.

Tom Runholt

Marshall

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