New COVID testing plans will increase access in rural areas

North Dakota National Guard at a testing site in Grand Forks.

White tents signaling a COVID mass testing event are now a normal sight in North Dakota. But soon, you may be seeing less of them.

The North Dakota Public Health department is making eight testing districts to distribute the National Guard more efficiently, helping rural areas.

"We want to reach those other areas of the state. It might be two or three hours to the nearest testing facility, just bringing that to them," said Nicole Brunelle, State Trauma System Coordinator.

Each district will get 12 National Guardsmen to send to targeted or hard to reach areas.


"We will be able to go into smaller communities more frequently and into some of the smaller communities into Barnes County," said Theresa Will, Administrator at City County Health District in Valley City

Will says while there may be fewer cases in rural areas, they need more data statewide.

"To determine the need, they need to do additional testing and see if there are some asymptomatic out there," she said.

Having national guardsman at each district's disposal can also increase targeted testing.

Brenda Stallman, Director, Traill District Health Unit said, "In Traill County here we have a college, Mayville State University and with school startup approaching there is going to be increase in needs."

The state is still finalizing the eight districts and will release plans between the 15th and the end of the month.

Related Topics: CORONAVIRUS
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