Department of Health begins statewide distribution of one million free, at-home COVID-19 tests

Tests will soon be available at public locations such as courthouses, airports, schools and more.

FSA coronavirus microscope7
This image shows a microscopic view of the COVID-19 virus.

PIERRE — Less than three weeks after their initial announcement, the South Dakota Department of Health said Friday that the distribution of one million free at-home COVID-19 tests is underway.

On Friday, the SDDOH said operations have begun to distribute the first round of tests to sites statewide. Though long-term care facilities will have priority for receiving the tests, state officials say the public can expect them to be available at public places such as courthouses, airports, schools and more.

The first batch of 187,500 Flowflex at-home tests arrived in Pierre late last week, and distribution to sites in both the East and West River regions of the state will begin shortly. The SDDOH expects the remaining approximately 820,000 at-home tests to be distributed throughout the state and available to the general public in the next two weeks, but acknowledges that additional supply chain disruptions could challenge their goal.

“We are delivering on the promise made by Governor Noem to get a free COVID-19 test in the hands of any citizen that wants one,” said Joan Adam, Interim Health Secretary. “Making access to testing fast and convenient is key in fighting back against COVID-19.”

The tests can be done at home in as little as 15 minutes using the provided step-by-step instruction guide included in each test kit. The Department of Health says the antigen tests, Flowflex brand, are reliable, and don’t need confirmation through a healthcare provider.


However, the department continues to encourage residents that test positive to follow CDC isolation guidance .

The free take-home tests at locations around the state complements the SDDOH’s year-old program which mails test kits to a resident’s home.

More information can be found on the SDDOH’s website in the coming days.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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