RAPID CITY, S.D. (Jan. 12, 2022) – To meet increasing demand for COVID-19 testing, Monument Health will open an additional Rapid City drive-through site at Monument Health Orthopedic and Specialty Hospital. The site, at Catron Boulevard and U.S. Highway 16, is expected to begin collecting samples on Thursday.
“We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in COVID-19 and influenza testing since January. The drive-through sites that collect the samples are especially busy,” said Emily Leech, Laboratory Director at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital. She noted that the lab recently processed more than 4,000 COVID-19 tests in a single week. On average, more than 30 percent of recent COVID-19 tests have been positive.
Demand for all health care services, including COVID-19 testing, has soared in the past week. Nearly all of the available adult hospital beds, intensive care unit beds and Emergency Department exam rooms are filled with patients as hospital caregivers work to meet the health care needs of the community.
A number of people have been turning up for testing at the Rapid City Hospital Emergency Department, which is not a COVID-19 testing site.
“If you have COVID-19 symptoms but you’re not in immediate danger, please don’t go to the Emergency Department for a COVID-19 test,” said Mark Schulte, a Rapid City Hospital Vice President. “Please make an appointment at one of the Monument Health testing sites, including the new site at Monument Health Orthopedic and Specialty Hospital.”
Hours at the new testing site will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and it will remain open until the need for testing declines. Experts say infections from the omicron variant of COVID-19 could be short-lived. The South Dakota National Guard is again helping Monument Health with sample collection at testing sites in Rapid City, Spearfish and other Monument Health locations.
Testing is currently available at the Monument Health Urgent Care on Jackson Boulevard, the North 10th Street Clinic in Spearfish and at hospitals and clinics in Belle Fourche, Buffalo, Custer, Lead-Deadwood and Sturgis. Hours have been expanded at some locations to accommodate more testing.
Those who want to be tested for COVID-19 must have an appointment. They can do so by visiting the Monument Health website, or by texting the word “TEST” to 844-736-4798 to receive a direct link for scheduling. If symptoms are severe or if you need to talk to a nurse, call the Monument Health Nurse Triage Line at 605-755-1350. Nurses are available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.