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Burgum aims for 8,000 tests/day

Gov. Doug Burgum
Gov. Doug Burgum(KFYR-TV)
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 8:21 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As cases rise more quickly in Burleigh and Morton counties, Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., says a new task force is set to tackle the problem.

There are a few more assessments to go before the task force is set up, but the governor’s lining up funds and federal resource for the new task force.

Much of the task force he said it will likely rely on the Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars.

It comes at a time when Burleigh and Morton counties have more than 300 active cases; that's the largest number for any state metro area.

The governor says the new task force is focused on getting resources where they need to go and improving data along the way.

“We’ve got a gameplan. We’ve followed one that worked in collaboration between Cass and Clay County. We’ll have some people on this task force with experience from that one and so that will help us get a leg up as we get charging on this one,” Burgum said.

Part of this is just another expansion on state testing efforts.

The governor said he has set a new goal for the state to do 8,000 tests a day.

This follows a recent shift and test distribution strategy, as demand continues to increase. But as North Dakota maintains reopening while other states close down, demand for health care over all is going up.

“There is a concern, not about beds, not about equipment, not about PPE, not about ventilators. Those concerns that we had a few months ago are gone. But we still have some concerns and we’ll be putting some attention to make sure that we have appropriate workforce to make sure we can staff what need be if we continue to see cases,” Burgum said.

This expansion on testing efforts comes at a time as university students are preparing to come back into the state, and universities and colleges said they it will be requiring testing before the school year starts.

The governor said he is in talks with research university labs to meet that demand.

When asked why the state hadn’t been using the university labs before, the governor said the state is only allowed to now because of a recent waiver granted at the federal level.

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