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Residents speak out about first ‘Operation Drive-in’ COVID-19 testing

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North Dakota officials have tested more than 6,000 people for the coronavirus. The number of examinations is expected to increase dramatically, with a drive-thru effort that began today in the small town of Amidon.

Slope County was picked as one of two spots in North Dakota for Governor Burgum’s testing pilot program, called “Operation Drive-in.”

It was open to anyone in the county, no matter if you were having symptoms or not. The hope is that the quick mouth swab test will identify carriers earlier, and help the state improve the tracing of contact people have with the virus.

Hundreds of cars lined up for the testing and many people waited hours.

Slope County Sheriff Rory Teigen says, “Cars started lining up at 9:30 and then they started precisely at 10, shortly or a few minutes after. It’s been going real good– real steady. Once they get to this point it takes about 20 minutes to get up through the line and back out.”

The small city of Amidon was filled with cars lining down the street in order to get tested for the coronavirus and it was a very long day for everyone.

Resident Laurie Reichenberg says, “I got here at approximately 11:00 and It is 1:45.”

“Waiting time is about two hours… an hour and 45 to two hours,” says Sheriff Rory Teigen.

Governor Burgum’s proposal encouraged anyone from Slope County to go ahead and get tested, no matter if you have symptoms or not.

However, the citizens of county tell KX News that things did get frustrating.

Reichenberg says, “Are they taking driver’s licenses/IDs? Do they know if all these people are from Slope County?”

“For the most part it’s Slope County but there’s a few extras coming through,” says Sheriff Teigen.

We asked the Sheriff if they were checking ID’s but he said no. The whole point of the project is to only test the residents in the county. Although there were a few mishaps, many people here agreed this is a good idea.

“Everyone is doing pretty well and staying upbeat on it. It’s a bad thing and nobody thought they would ever have to do this but it’s here,” says Sheriff Teigen.

Reichenberg adds, “Besides it being a pilot testing if it’s going to do any good with speeding up this process and get back to our daily activities then why would you not.”

The pilot project is conducted by the Southwestern District Health Unit as well as the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota National Guard.

Due to limited testing supplies officials were forced to start turning people away.
Tomorrow, the second testing site will be held at the Gladstone Fire district of North Dakota and they ask that only residents from the district come by.

It is only a simple swab by the mouth test. Those tested will receive a phone call with their results the following day.

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

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