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More people getting tested for COVID-19 means higher demand for test

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As the number of positive cases continue to rise in North Dakota, so does the demand for testing.

Burleigh County is one of many static testing locations across the state, testing people by the hundreds.

And while that number continues to climb– so do the complications.

Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health ran out of 800 tests within two hours this week, having to turn away hundreds of residents waiting in line at the Event Center.

“There is a great need, and we’re doing what we can with what we have. So hopefully we have some patience from the public on all of this,” shared Renae Moch, the Director of Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

Burleigh County is included in the southwest central region of North Dakota along with Morton, Mercer, Oliver, Kidder, Grant, Sioux and Emmons.

The eight counties are allocated a thousand tests a week to divide among themselves.

“Because we’ve had such an increase in phone calls and requests for tests, we were able to prioritize our testing site as someone that got a little bit more than maybe some of the other areas did. So Emmons County and Kidder actually, you know, went their amounts for this week,” shared Moch.

Moch says there are a number of issues they are seeing, affecting the time window for when people are getting the results back. Things like running out of tests, prioritizing testing and the overwhelming number of samples that need to be processed.

“We have to work with the supplies and the lab capacity factor. So I know people were upset for being turned away or not being able to get tested on Tuesday when we did our event,” shared Moch.

“You know, the testing is still tight. You know, the supply chain is still tight for testing supplies in the United States. So I believe most laboratories are using what they can get and what’s available,” explained Kirby Kruger, the Director of Disease Control for the North Dakota Department of Health.

The state Health Department also wants people to remember to stay home and complete their quarantine because they could still spread the virus.

“If individuals who are close contacts, you know, if they’ve been told by Public Health that they’re a close contact to a COVID case and they need to quarantine. You can’t be tested and get out of your quarantine. You need to stay in quarantine,” explained Kruger.

Moving forward, Bismarck-Burleigh Health is asking people to try and avoid getting tested if they are not symptomatic, in close contact with someone who is positive or thinks they may have been exposed.

Pre-registration will also be going digital helping to speed up the process.

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

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