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Final N.D. county to see coronavirus cases offers drive-thru testing

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While all 53 counties have now reported coronavirus cases, Adams held out the longest, until last week, when two new cases were detected in a long-term care facility.

“Because we were lucky, period,” Chief Medical Officer at West River Health Services Dr. Cathy Houle said. She says the distance from densely populated areas helped delay the spread.

“We’ve tried to kind of promote testing, but I think it’s just luck,” Houle said. “We’re a long way from everybody.”

The county held its third drive-thru testing event Monday at RZ Motors Car Wash in Hettinger, where 200 people showed up.

“We are seeing across our southwest region increased desire to be tested so that’s a great thing, seeing more and more people wanting to come through these drive-thrus,” Sherry Adams, Southwestern District Health Unit Executive Officer, said.

Adams says she thinks the warmer weather could be causing the increase in cases and the interest in testing.

“A lot of people at the beginning people did practice social distancing and I think that summer, and it being North Dakota, we like being out a little more,” Adams said.

Getting tested, she says, is simple and only takes a few minutes.

Though Dr. Houle says that of the two reported cases, one was a false positive — both people are currently asymptomatic and being isolated in a long-term care facility.

So far, there have been none at the medical center, but they are prepared for that, Houle says.

“We have a wing that can be closed off to take care of coronavirus cases if we have to. As long as there’s capacity at the tertiary centers, we’ll have them go there,” Houle said.

Ultimately, Adams says the reported cases are a reminder to take action to prevent the spread.

“Practice that social distancing and mask up when you’re at gatherings, it does slow the spread,” Adams said.

Adams says positive cases are called within 48 hours of receiving the test, and negatives may take a little longer, but everybody will be notified of their results.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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