Health officials discuss COVID-19 testing protocols in Minot

Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 4:24 PM CDT
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Health officials in Minot called an emergency press conference Tuesday to update us all on COVID-19 numbers, and how they are testing for the virus.

Public health administrators say they have opened a drive-through testing facility for people to quickly get tested if they are showing symptoms.

The site, which opened Monday at the Trinity Medical Arts Clinic, will only test patients that make an appointment through their provider by calling.

Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe explained the proper protocol someone showing signs of the virus should take if they feel sick.

“They set up a drive through test at trinity First Care and you can go get tested if you don't think that you necessarily need to be seen by a doctor. You just need to get the test because you have the symptoms you must have symptoms to be tested,” said Nwaigwe.

While some carriers of the virus might be asymptomatic, others might show signs that could be considered flu-like, such as coughing and sneezing, sore throat, fever and shortness of breath.

Dr. Nwaigwe emphasized that no one who thinks they might have the virus should report to the testing site without calling first.

“We recommend that you do not just go to the clinic or do not just go to the emergency room you call ahead and tell them that you are having these symptoms,” said Nwaigwe.

The Director of Environmental Health at First District also reiterated ways to prevent the spread of the virus, including maintaining clean surfaces.

“We are recommending increased cleaning frequency to high-touch surfaces these surfaces include door knobs, keyboards, touch pads, light switches tables, menus,” said Lisa Ottow Westman.

Westman also said social distancing is key right now.

“We are strongly discouraging large events and gatherings. For instance you may have a regularly scheduled daily event that brings in lots of people, reconsider that,” she said.

As of now, Minot has the only testing location within the seven-county reach of First District, though they said they are planning if that needs to change.

The test samples still need to be sent from Minot to the state health department in Bismarck, so it will take 48 to 72 hours to find out the results.

If you having any cold or flu like symptoms you are encouraged to call 701-857-5000 and if you have any questions about the coronavirus you can call 866-207-2880.

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