Another symptom to look out for with the coronavirus

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 10:57 PM CDT
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KOTA Territory catches up with Dr. Nancy Babbitt at Creekside Medical Clinic to find out what's another symptom people should be looking out for along with some updates on COVID-19 testing.

Coughing, shortness of breath and fever are the common symptoms of this strain of coronavirus going around.

But now there is another symptom to be aware of.

"If someone's lost their sense of smell then we know the virus is starting to replicate in their nasal cavity so we can test them," Dr. Babbitt said.

Starting Monday, Creekside Medical Clinic on Jackson Boulevard made their staff take people's temperatures before walking in.

Even television reporters have to undergo thermometer checks.

Dr. Babbitt said this is intended to also help protect their staff of 25 people as they are being tested every day when they enter and exit.

Last week, Dr. Babbit said they only had about 15 tests available. Now she is saying they can do unlimited testing.

Creekside Medical Clinic collects samples at their facility but then sends it off to Sanford Laboratories, a private lab, in Rapid City.

The private lab just received a shipment of nearly 30,000 tests according to Dr. Babbitt. A good sign she points out.

She said mass testing is important because it could lead to more accuracy and a better understanding of where the state is at with the coronavirus spread.

Sanford Laboratories can turnover test results in about two days.

However, the first couple of weeks the samples will be sent to Sioux Falls to be tested but afterwards all the samples will go to the lab facility in Rapid City.

While following the South Dakota Department of Health's reports are important, Dr. Babbitt points out the numbers are not completely reliable.

"Seeing that there's been one case in Pennington County is a meaningless number," she said. "And I think that the Department of Health is doing wonderful work in trying to help us deal with this pandemic. But we are behind."

She said the state health department tends to be about a week behind with their numbers.

However, she says more testing can combat that and help outline a trend.

Also, now that Congress lifted some restrictions and regulations, she said, they are conducting Telehealth for all patients.

She said Telehealth is helping them handle 90 percent of the problems patients are reporting on the phone.

Overall, Dr. Babbitt wants to remind everyone to practice social distancing as someone can contract the virus even for standing for just ten minutes at a distance of less than six feet.

"Be smart, be safe and be kind to each other," Dr. Babbitt said.

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