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DOH fulfills Noem's promise to distribute 1 million free, at-home COVID-19 test kits

The announcement comes as active cases in South Dakota have plummeted to a six-week low.

FSA coronavirus microscope7
This image shows a microscopic view of the COVID-19 virus. Submitted
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PIERRE — Less than two months after Gov. Kristi Noem announced she would make available one million free, at-home COVID-19 test kits, the South Dakota Department of Health (SDDOH) says they have fulfilled Noem’s promise.

SDDOH announced Thursday it has completed the distribution of one million COVID-19 at-home antigen tests to various sites across South Dakota.

“We have delivered on the Governor’s promise to distribute one million free COVID-19 home test kits to state residents,” said Joan Adam, Interim Health Secretary. “We are thankful for Governor Noem’s support in this herculean effort to ensure all South Dakotans remain strong and healthy.”

After announcing the procurement of the tests on Jan. 7, SDDOH began distributing the first 180,000 tests less than two weeks later. Now, the remaining 820,000 tests are available at public locations throughout the state — including schools, libraries, courthouses, airports, food banks and more.

While the sheer number of tests may imply their availability, SDDOH encourages those interested in acquiring a test to call ahead to their local sites to ensure they’re in stock. Residents can also order Vault Health test kits, which have been available for over a year through the SDDOH website .

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Flowflex COVID-19 antigen tests, — the brand the state is providing at various locations — can be completed at home in as little as 15 minutes.

SDDOH says the antigen tests are reliable, and those who receive a positive result, should stay home, though they do not need to confirm the result through a healthcare provider or report it to the Department of Health. Residents with a positive test result are encouraged to follow the CDC’s isolation guidance .

The announcement comes as active cases in South Dakota have plummeted to a six-week low as the surge powered by the omicron variant quickly eased across the state

SDDOH did not respond to a request for comment regarding the potential of providing future, additional batches of at-home testing.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at HDunteman@MitchellRepublic.com, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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