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Dickinson to have drive-thru COVID-19 testing

sanford health drive-through coronavirus COVID-19 testing.jpg
Dr. Brian Tjarks takes a nasal swab from a patient at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Sioux Falls, S.D., in this undated photo. (Submitted/Sanford Health)

Residents in Dickinson can soon get tested for the coronavirus, for free.

The City of Dickinson is partnering with the State of North Dakota to set up a drive-thru testing station at West River Recreation Center this week.

Testing will be available for targeted groups on Tuesday and not open to the general public. Testing for the general public will be available Wednesday.

Individuals who are exhibiting symptoms will be eligible for testing first, as there will be a limited number of test kits available.

"A symptom is as simple as a cough or a sore throat or body aching, so it may be that we think it's something else ... Just in case it's a lot of cold and flu-like symptoms, go ahead and come out and this will rule it in or out," said Joe Gaa, city administrator.


To participate, you must be in a vehicle and must access the testing site from West Business Loop 94, turning east on Fairway Street. Signage and traffic control officers will direct traffic.

Vehicles can line up beginning at 9:30 a.m. Testing will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. or until all test kits have been used.

Businesses and residences will remain accessible for the event, but the City asks that the public avoid travel in the area when possible.

The testing is the result of the combined efforts the city, the state, Stark County Emergency Management and Southwest District Health Unit.

The effort is part of a testing event dubbed "Operation Drive-In" by Governor Doug Burgum. Testing has taken place already in places such as in Amidon, Gladstone, Stanley, Grand Forks and Fargo.

Dickinson has had a plan for testing for some time.

"We thought they might come here. Then they went to Slope County and Gladstone instead, so we've had a plan. About a week ago, we asked Southwest (District) Health (Unit) to take that plan up. They (the state) want to do more tests, but people weren't necessarily ready. Well, we had a plan so they said, 'Hey, we'll bring the site out to you and conduct the test if you're ready," Gaa said.

Burgum said in a press conference Monday that businesses may voluntarily reopen May 1 if the state continues to see a low rate of positive tests for COVID-19. They will be required to meet certain operating criteria under Phase 1 rules in the North Dakota Smart Restart plan, which will be announced Tuesday, Apr. 28.


The City of Dickinson, in partnership with the State of North Dakota, will be hosting drive-thru COVID-19 testing this week at the West River Community Center. On Wednesday, April 29th, the event will be open to Dickinson residents. Individuals who are exhibiting symptoms and are over age 12 can be tested at the event.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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