ND pharmacies limited by technology and resources to test for COVID-19

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BISMARCK, N.D. - On March 21, Gov. Doug Burgum signed an executive order allowing pharmacists to test patients for COVID-19.

However, limited resources and technology are slowing down the ability for North Dakota pharmacies to provide the testing.

The executive order was meant to expand the ability for coronavirus testing around the state. However, testing was limited when resources weren't available.

The North Dakota Board of Pharmacy is staying hopeful that once they get the supplies and technology, their work could have a drastic effect on testing in our state.

"License pharmacists could do the swab and send it in. It gives more places for people to get tested and increase our overall testing which will help improve our data and make good decisions," said Burgum.

In some rural North Dakota communities, large health facilities are hours away.

But with the help of hometown pharmacies, testing will be more accessible.

"I think pharmacy and pharmacist want to step up to and meet the needs of their communities, where and when that may be appropriate," said Mark Hardy, executive director of the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy.

Pharmacists are now waiting for kits and instant testing to became available to them.

"The ability to have results delivered within just minutes, which is coming, is something that will be useful and will allow pharmacists to pull themselves in to that process," said Hardy.

For now, they wait on big corporations to help out in the small towns.

"More options for them to get tested and more locations is obviously a good thing," said Hardy.

Moving forward to supply North Dakota with essential tests with more accessibility.

Right now, there are no known pharmacies in the state that have testing capabilities.

However, one concern Hardy has is that patents showing symptoms will walk into the pharmacy.

He says people still need to take precautions like they are going into a hospital.