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Governor changes the state’s quarantine policy, says 14,000 rapid COVID-19 tests on the way

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(Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

A possible “game changer” in North Dakota’s pandemic fight.

Gov. Doug Burgum addressed the state on Thursday, where he announced that 14,000 rapid tests are on their way to North Dakota.

Those tests take 15 minutes to turn around and don’t need to be processed in a lab.

The governor says he expects the state to have 220,000 of these tests on hand by the end of the year, and he says they could make schools and long-term-care facilities safer.

“For example, if a student presented in a school with symptoms, a school nurse could give a test right there, and in 15 minutes know if the student is positive or not. Same thing within nursing homes, whether with visitation or with residents or staff, it could really be a game-changer to have that information,” Burgum said.

Also during the press conference, the governor announced changes to the state’s quarantine policy — what he calls an incentive for North Dakotans to wear face masks.

Now, the state says if you’re identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, but both you and the positive case were wearing masks while in contact, you won’t be asked to self-quarantine.

That change does not apply to health care or household settings.

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