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Dickinson, Medora to have weekly COVID-19 testing

DICKINSONCOVID19.jpg
A mobile COVID-19 testing initiative launched across North Dakota this month, resulting in drive thru testing efforts appearing in communities across the state. In partnership with the State of North Dakota, medical officials and leaders in Stark County and the city of Dickinson conducted a COVID-19 test for residents on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at the West River Community Center grounds in Dickinson. (Photo by Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Weekly COVID-19 testing sites are coming to southwestern North Dakota to enhance testing capacity on a more regular basis.

"They have more tests, and because of the rise in cases, they want to continue testing so they don't get a hot spot all of a sudden," said Maureen Smith at Southwest District Health Unit.

Two drive-thru testing sites are being established this week — one in Dickinson at the Sanford parking lot at 938 2 nd Ave W, and one in Medora at the fire hall at 604 E River Rd S.

In Dickinson, 300 tests will be available on each of the following days: Wednesday, July 15 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; Tuesday, July 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Tuesday, July 28th from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; and Tuesday, August 4 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

In Medora, 200 tests will be available on each of the following Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: July 16, July 23, July 30 and August 6.

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"We've been working with Medora because of all the tourist attractions. We've been trying to test there weekly. Dickinson obviously based on more people needing to be tested," said Sherry Adams, executive officer at SWDHU.

Other sites in the region will be announced in the next week or so and may include Dunn County and Adams County.

"I will work with local emergency managers and communities to figure out where the next (testing sites will be). For sure, we'll be going to Dunn County on Wednesday ... I just don't have specifics yet where in Dunn County. Then we'll also probably go back to Hettinger town and Hettinger County," Adams said.

How long testing will be available at any of these sites has yet to be determined. The North Dakota National Guard will be helping facilitate testing for at least another month.

"We're trying to spread the testing out across the state to try to get more of the (smaller) communities on a more frequent basis and to try to take some of the extra pressure off of hospitals and clinics that are also seeing a lot of testing," Adams said. "We're trying to come up with a model that works, so we're ... starting it in Dickinson and Williston this week just to see how it works, and then once we figure out what works and what doesn't work, they'll be spreading that across the state."

Testing may change somewhat in August if schools reopen, she said.

These sites will screen for present infection only, and not antibodies from a previous infection.

The tests will be free and open to the public. Those who are sick or require urgent care are urged to continue to utilize medical clinics and hospitals as before.

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To speed up the drive-thru process, those wishing to be tested can register electronically online at testreg.nd.gov.

Dickinson's latest drive-thru testing was available last Thursday, July 9, at the Biesiot Activities Center. Out of approximately 300 people tested, two were found to be infected with COVID-19.

Related Topics: DICKINSONMEDORACORONAVIRUS
Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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