Coronavirus testing event

What: coronavirus testing event

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 18

Where: Stutsman County Fairgrounds (north entrance)

Preregistration: https://testreg.nd.gov/

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Stutsman County reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, June 17, according to the North Dakota Department Health, the day before a public testing event in Jamestown.

Stutsman County has had a total of 60 cases of coronavirus since March, with 31 people reported recovered.

The drive-up public testing event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at the north entrance of the Stutsman County Fairgrounds. People are encouraged to preregister by filling out the online screening questionnaire at https://testreg.nd.gov/. Those people who do not preregister will provide the same information at the testing site during the event. The oral swab test is free and no insurance will be processed.

Shannon Kaiser, director of health promotion, Central Valley Health District, noted there were increases in cases last week and so arrangements were made for the testing.

“We very much welcome anybody that is concerned or anybody that is experiencing symptoms, anybody that’s a close contact or somebody that’s just wanting to have that security of a test to come out and get tested,” she said.

She said there is a capacity to test 500 people and believes there will be a strong turnout.

“I think we will just being that we haven’t had this type of event here,” she said. “There’s been lots going on in Bismarck and Fargo and Grand Forks with the mass testing but we haven’t had that here yet so I do think we will have a good turnout.”

People who preregister are not guaranteed to get a test but preregistration is expected to help the process go faster, Kaiser said. The preregistration process asks for the person’s name, address and demographic information.

“It’s basically what you would do if you were to get any type of medical test,” she said. "When the person who preregisters comes to the drive-up testing and gives his or her name, the information that was provided can be pulled up.

“We highly encourage to just get it done before because it will be much easier and much faster if the preregistration is done beforehand,” she said. “And if you’re coming with your whole family, everybody will need to fill out their own preregistration.”

The Guard is bringing 30 to 40 people for the event and will do the majority of the testing, Kaiser said, “and then we will be working together with some partners from the Department of Health and then other local safety and health people.”

That includes Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Jamestown Police Department and Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, along with volunteers from the North Dakota State Hospital and other area public health departments.

“So we’re going to have quite a crew up there ... and I think it’s going to go great,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser said Central Valley Health District is getting calls about coronavirus concerns from the public on a daily basis including how to get tested.

“I think this is something that the community’s been wanting and so we answered and arranged for it to happen,” she said.

The test will take 15 minutes but the wait time may be longer than that, she said.

“We do believe that initially, it might be busy because it is a first-come, first-serve basis so we encourage people to come right away if they want a test,” she said. “That being said, the setup up at the fairgrounds is a good setup for this type of event. It’s going to be able to triage vehicles very smoothly. And the more people that preregister the faster the line will go.”

Results will be provided by phone: a positive result will be reported to the person within 24 to 72 hours; a negative result within 72 hours, she said.

Jennifer Schmidt, epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health, said in a Sun story last week that those who test positive will be contacted by a caseworker from the Health Department who will ask questions to help determine who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. They will be placed in quarantine.

Kaiser said awareness is a goal of the event.

“I think we just hope that it will bring more awareness to the community,” Kaiser said. “We’re noticing that social distancing is lessening while our numbers continue to rise and so we’re hoping that this event will show the community whether or not the coronavirus is here. … Just to really either be eye-opening or to be reassuring. I’m very curious to see what’s going to come from the event.”

Kaiser said more testing is available in the state and that’s good for communities.

“We want people to be tested because we need to protect those vulnerable populations,” she said. “Especially those people that are going into long-term care facilities. We need to make sure that they’re protecting themselves and getting tested so that they’re not contracting that disease or spreading it to those vulnerable people ... the older population and people with the immune systems that aren’t as strong.”

She said Central Valley Health notes that coronavirus is still in the community even as the state continues reopening more areas through the ND Smart Restart guidelines.

“... we still do continue to encourage that people are wearing their masks when they’re out in public and they can’t social distance, making sure that we continue to wash our hands and to really avoid being around the vulnerable populations in our lives,” she said.