More than a dozen U.S. states have begun reversing reopening plans as spikes in coronavirus cases raise concerns. As positive cases for coronavirus surpass 3,000 in North Dakota, the Southwestern District Health Unit (SDHU) and the city of Dickinson are partnering with multiple entities to host its fourth COVID-19 testing event.

The event will be free and available to all members of the general public on Thursday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Henry Biesiot Activities Center

The Southwestern District Health Unit’s aim will be to ensure those that want to be tested receive the opportunity to do so.

Sherry Adams, the SDHU executive officer, said the testing comes following requests for increased testing in western North Dakota as cases have been slowly rising in the city, county and adjacent counties. Adams noted that Burleigh has become a hotspot and travel to and from the area to Dickinson is considered routine and frequent by residents. The upcoming testing day is an essential tool healthcare professionals will use to gauge Dickinson’s situation and assist state officials with accurate and updated numbers.

“We are seeing more positive cases in North Dakota and Stark County,” Adams said. “We haven’t had cases for like six weeks, and then all of a sudden we’re starting to see cases here, cases there, and Bismarck is starting to become more of a hotspot as well. We just really want to try and stay ahead of this.”

Adams recalled seeing approximately 500 tests being completed in each of the three testing events that were held. However, officials will have 750 samples available on July 9. Adams hopes the public takes the numbers seriously and more people attend the event, even if they feel “normal.”

“The thing we hope doesn’t happen, which we see happening a little bit is what is called “testing fatigue,” she said. “People just think, ‘I don’t really need to get tested, I feel fine.’ But again, there are people that feel fine but actually are positive carriers. Those are the ones we want to make sure we try to catch before they spread it to others and we do become one of those hotspots.”

As seen with the past testing days, the event will be free and open to the public of all ages. Insurance cards do not need to be present, drivers’ license will not be scanned and no verification will be needed. While there are no requirements, Adams asks the public to please pre-register for the event to help speed up the process of testing to help get more people tested and not waiting.

Adams stated those that are tested and are confirmed to be positive will get a call within 24-48 hours after taking the test. For those that are negative will receive a phone call between 24-72 hours.

While many friends and family members are deemed to be coming together and celebrating the large amounts of festivities happening on the Fourth of July, health officials such as Adams, and organizations such as the CDC ask the public to please be smart and safe during the holiday weekend.

“North Dakota is really trying hard to stay ahead of the game and not become (a major outbreak state) with many, many, many cases,” Adams said. “Please keep us going green, do the social distancing, wear masks, if you’re in big groups or around people and hand washing, stay home when you’re sick, just those same CDC guidelines.”

To help save time, pre-registration can be completed at https://testreg.nd.gov/. For more information, contact Sherry Adams at 701-290-8518.