North Dakota to hold rapid COVID-19 testing events in Fargo, Bismarck this weekend
The department emphasizes that the events are only for residents who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Residents with symptoms should isolate at home and call their doctors, according to state health officials.
BISMARCK — For the first time during the pandemic, the North Dakota Department of Health will host mass COVID-19 screening events that use rapid tests, which can produce results in as little as 15 minutes.
One event will be held in Fargo at the Loretta Building, 201 N. Broadway, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. Another event in Bismarck will go forward in the Gateway Mall parking lot near Planet Fitness from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The department emphasizes that the events are only for residents who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Residents with symptoms should isolate at home and call their doctors, according to a department news release.
The city of Bismarck also announced that rapid tests will be available at the airport for travelers leaving and entering North Dakota's capital city between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27, excluding Christmas Day. Fargo's Hector International Airport has no plans to offer voluntary rapid tests, but executive director Shawn Dobberstein said the airport would be open to making them available if any health agencies wanted to facilitate the operation.
Rapid antigen tests are slightly less accurate than traditional PCR tests — receiving a false negative result is more likely than a false positive result, according to the department . However, rapid tests are less physically invasive and produce results much quicker than traditional tests, which can take a day or more to yield results.
Residents who attend the events will receive their results through a text notification about 15 minutes after their test. Those who test positive should isolate at home immediately and wait for a case investigator to contact them. If the screening yields a negative result, individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms, according to the department.
Gov. Doug Burgum and other state officials began urging residents to seek rapid tests in recent weeks as they became more widely available. The tests were previously used mostly in nursing homes, schools, colleges and health care facilities.
Those interested in getting tested at an event this weekend can fill out an online survey at testreg.nd.gov for faster registration.