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North Dakota Department of Health helping Bismarck area meet testing needs

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Along with the Burleigh-Morton COVID-19 task force, the state Health Department is lending a hand in the fight against COVID-19.

“We’re wanting to give this community, the Bismarck Community, every possible opportunity to get tested if they want to,” said Julie Sickler, the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the North Dakota Department of Health.

With Burleigh County being the state’s latest hot spot, the need for additional testing was identified.

“This static testing by Bismarck-Burleigh as well as Custer Health, that all ties back into the task force and the goal ultimately is no more positives,” shared Sickler.

On average, there are 16 people working this static testing event for the state Health Department every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“We continue to onboard health and medical staff. Those are the people you see out in the parking lot assisting with the testing,” said Sickler.

Testing around 900 people in a week, those administrating the tests are taking extra precautions to protect themselves and all those they come into contact with throughout the day.

“So we always change both our gloves whenever we go up to someone. We always hand sanitize, not only the gloves underneath, but the new gloves we’re putting on as well,” said Joseph Mailey, an EMT with Metro Area Ambulance.

Over the past few weeks staff at the testing event has seen an uptake in the number of children being tested.

“So right now we are testing anywhere from 2 years of age and up. And I think there’s a recognition that because school is coming that those younger children need to be tested,” said Sickler.

“Children getting tested is a little harder because, again, they’re scared of the process. You kind of have to reassure them. So that definitely takes time,” shared Mailey.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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