Burgum addresses delayed test results

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D.
Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D.(KFYR-TV)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 8:58 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - More than 160,000 North Dakotans have been tested, and the state has processed nearly 330,000 tests.

But, some are seeing delays in getting results, sparking concern from residents and Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., especially as he wants to ramp up testing.

Burgum said if we want to hit 8,000 tests a day, we are going to need some help.

He said that the state will be reliance on universities to fill the gap, but those deals are not in place yet.

The state has no commercial labs to rely on, but there is a continuing deal with a lab in North Carolina that the state has been working with for months now.

But the governor said just being able to do the test isn’t enough.

“We need quantity and quality, and by quality I mean high accuracy and quick turnaround and notification, because if somebody takes a test five or six days before they find out, either they’ve missed a week of work for nothing, because they were isolating, or they say I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing until I find out my result, and they may be an asymptomatic spreader,” Burgum said.

Higher Education Chancellor Mark Hagerott he said he’s expecting a surge of test in the coming weeks.

That would only put additional stress on the system.

And there are there are already notable delays in getting results, and the governor said waiting longer than 48 hours for a test result isn’t worth the money.

“We got a few emails and calls from people that said, ‘Hey, I’ve been waiting four days. You know, I got the test on Monday, I didn’t get the result until Friday, over the weekend.’ I don’t want to hear from the end-citizens that they’re having problems. We want to have reporting systems internally that would tell us if we’re slipping below this 48-hour goal that we want to have,” Burgum said.

While the state tries to set up a testing plan, universities are trying to do the same.

Students are requested to be tested before coming into campus, but there is no requirement to do so. Hagerott added he wants to have regular surveillance testing throughout the year. But he said he’s not sure what that model would look like.

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