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COVID-19 Test Results Delayed by National Supplies Shortage


The South Dakota Public Health Lab is not able to process test results for COVID-19 due to a nationwide shortage of supplies. Governor Kristi Noem says other states are facing a similar situation. 

In a press conference in Rapid City this afternoon, Governor Noem says she hopes the next shipment of enzymes and other necessary supplies arrives within the day—but she cautions that other expected shipments have been canceled. The governor says the state lab will work around the clock to process tests as soon as supplies arrive.

“Those that are being tested in South Dakota today are being put into isolation," Noem explains. "That is normal operating procedure. That will continue going forward. They will be notified as to the results of those tests as soon as they are processed, and commercial lab capacity is coming online." 

The governor goes on to say, "This is something we’ve been working on for weeks, and our three major healthcare systems are in the process of standing commercial labs up as well that will support the South Dakota Public Health Lab into the future.”

Because of the delayed test results, the state’s official count of positive and negative cases has not changed. However, the number of pending tests jumped from 35 to 350 over the past day.

State health officials are recommending anyone suspected of having COVID-19 self-isolate at home until their tests are completed, or if they are without a fever for three days and it’s been at least a week since symptoms began.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever of more than 100, cough, and shortness of breath. The state Department of Health says anyone with any of those symptoms should stay home and call their healthcare provider if symptoms become severe.

From there, providers will decide if COVID-19 testing is necessary.

Once supplies arrive, Governor Noem says patients will get results as soon as possible. Before the shortage, the lab returned results within 24 hours.