Drive through, mass testing postponed for the time being

Louise Oleson, DLJ editor
As of 11 a.m. on May 4 this map of North Dakota shows the active COVID-19 cases by county. Note Ramsey County does not currently have an active case and neighboring counties of Nelson County and Wells County have one active case each. Walsh County has four. The largest numbers of active cases in the state will be found in Grand Forks County and Cass County.

Monday’s was North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum’s 44th daily press conference since early March.

For the time being, it would be his last daily press conference, too. He announced they were now going to three times a week.

One vital part of the equipment needed for analyzing test results ran out on Monday causing some frustration and cancellation of mass testing events planned for the city of Fargo on Monday and the city of Williston on Tuesday. Burgum assured listeners, “No mass testing has been cancelled, only postponed.” He was confident that the part, a plastic tray with multiple squares, needed to complete the analysis would be available this week and then they could resume testing they’d had to postpone.

This, however, does not affect the individual testing still available through each community’s health care facilities. In fact, more than once Burgum encouraged North Dakotans, “If you have symptoms, contact your provider and get tested.” “If you need to be tested, the tests are there for you,” he added. “You will not be turned away.”

He also mentioned that other sites throughout the state will see large-scale testing in the weeks ahead. One of those communities he mentioned was Devils Lake, although, he did not announce when that was to take place. Therefore, it’s a possibility that when the backlog of tests already done have been analyzed and the postponed mass testings for Fargo and Williston rescheduled and completed, provided they have sufficient equipment, and no further shortages of equipment, Devils Lake might be one of the communities next on their list.

The governor also said it was a priority to test all the residents and workers in the state’s long-term care and congregate living facilities. Burgum expressed confidence in the plan to amp up testing around the state, stating that North Dakota was now 4th in the nation for per capita testing. “Testing is the key” to his North Dakota Smart Restart plan to reopen all of ND.