Brian Veil is making sure all of his staff members are being good neighbors amidst a pandemic.
Veil, executive director of Alpha Opportunities Inc., helped to organize a staff and client wide drive-thru COVID-19 surveillance testing event Friday at Alpha's vocational center in Jamestown. The testing was for Alpha Opportunities employees and clients only.
"I think for us as a company it's a good way to make sure we are being a good community member," Veil said. "We are trying to keep our people safe, we're trying to keep our staff safe. Nobody wants to be a person that gives this disease to another person and with our people being really vulnerable I think this is a good starting point."
Veil said Alpha Opportunities employs approximately 140 employees and has approximately 70 clients. The event was the first time Alpha had conducted company-wide testing of all employees, though Veil said some employees were tested independently previously. Robin Iszler, unit administrator for Central Valley Health District, said there were approximately 165 tests administered in a four-hour time frame Friday.
Iszler said the drive-thru testing is the first to be held in Jamestown but stressed this particular surveillance testing event was targeted to the Alpha community.
"We had been talking to the (North Dakota) Department of Health for a couple of weeks and we felt like now, when we are starting to gear up to look at a reopening plan, we want to make sure that everybody's healthy," Veil said. "It fit in with what Robin (Iszler) was able to do at Central Valley (Health) so it kind of worked out for us to do it now."
Once test administrators reviewed and verified the subjects' paperwork, vehicles were directed to the back of the building where screenings were administered at four outdoor testing stations. Iszler said most people were given an oral swab test while remaining in the vehicle. There were two indoor testing stations that had been set up to accommodate those who were apprehensive due to the screening.
"It was very smooth," Iszler said of testing. "We had support with our teams from Jamestown Regional Medical Center, the Jamestown (Area) ambulance and then public health nurses from our region. We're doing this because they are testing vulnerable groups. We are not sure if there will be a mass testing event in Jamestown for the general public at this time."
Iszler said those in the Alpha community may or may nor have had symptoms prior to the testing. The results of the screenings are expected in the next 72 hours. If a test is positive Iszler said the North Dakota Department of Health will follow up with the subject and those who are in close contact to explain protocols.
While Friday's event was not for the general public, Iszler said three medical providers in Jamestown - Sanford Health, Essentia Health and JRMC - are conducting daily testings. Iszler said if members of the public experience COVID-19 symptoms such as a sore throat or fever they should call their medical provider and get tested.
Veil extended thanks to Cental Valley Health, Jamestown Area Ambulance, JRMC, the Department of Health and the Jamestown Police Department for the assistance provided for the event.
"Central Valley has been a great community partner," Veil said. "Robin and her staff made this a really easy process for us and have been very accomodating. We partner with them throughout the year whether it's flu vaccines or a personal care basis. They've been a great partner and I think we are lucky in Jamestown to have Central Valley here."