Second round of COVID-19 mass testing takes place in Grand Forks

More than 700 people were tested

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The North Dakota National Guard has tested 713 more people for the coronavirus during its second round of mass testing in Grand Forks.

This mass testing site at the Alerus Center is similar to one that was set up last week, where more than 400 LM Wind Power employees were tested for COVID-19.

“We’re hoping for a big number here, more than we had last Thursday, and it’s an opportunity for the guard to hone in their skills to get this done and, you know, it gives you a bigger volume of testing to give you a better understanding of what the virus is doing in the community,” says City of Grand Forks Communications Specialist John Bernstrom.

The site is open to any close contacts of those LM Wind Power employees, as well as J.R. Simplot workers.

Although no Simplot employees have been confirmed as having the coronavirus, the company recently discovered that a third-party worker who does potato testing for the facility was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Simplot has shut down for two weeks for maintenance and cleaning.

A company official says that third-party’s positive test will not have an impact on the its return to production.

This event is also testing local first responders for the coronavirus, including EMTs, firefighters and police officers.

“The big thing with the mass testing site is, when we have a group we’re looking at to try and identify disease, we can try to bring a lot of people into one area, it limits their exposure of going into a clinic setting, where other people may be sick,” says North Dakota National Guard Lt. Col. Patrick Flanagan.

County officials say it also gives them a better idea of where the community spread is stemming from.

“Part of the form is, ‘Have you been in contact with anyone who’s sick? Is anyone sick in your home? How do you feel right now?’ And it’s a nice way, based on that information, and you pair that with the results of the test; are there a lot of people in the community not showing symptoms that are actually testing positive?” says Bernstrom.

They say these sites help professionals grasp where the virus is at and where its trajectory could be heading.

This is the sixth mass testing site the North Dakota National Guard has set up throughout the state.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Local News, North Dakota News