As cases of COVID-19 begin to rise across North Dakota and the rest of the country, Williston is seeing an increasing number of residents getting tested.
Williston held a mobile testing event on Sunday, July 12 at Williston High School, where hundreds of residents utilized the drive-up service. On Tuesday, July 14, the line of patients waiting to get tested at CHI St. Alexius Health’s respiratory clinic stretched out the door.
“We believe the urgency for people to get tested is due to the recent spike of positive cases in our area.” Dr. Robert Kemp with CHI told the Williston Herald. “As more positive cases are identified, contact tracing is done by the North Dakota Department of Health, which leads to additional testing due to a potential for exposure. According to the NDDoH the majority of our positive COVID-19 exposures are through community spread.”
The concern of rising numbers of active COVID-19 cases has prompted a number of businesses at the national level to begin requiring patrons to wear masks, including Menard’s, which began requiring masks to enter on July 13. Walmart similarly announced that the company would require masks to be worn inside their stores beginning on July 20. According to medical experts, any type of mask is better than none, as even a the simplest of face coverings can prevent the spread of moisture droplets, which is primarily how the coronavirus particles are transmitted.
“Whenever you are in public places wear a mask for your safety and those around you.” Kemp said. “If you can stay home, please do. Masks will help in preventing the spread of airborne particles but the best way to prevent the spread is to stay home as much as possible, wash your hands, social distance, and wear a mask. CHI has had universal masking protocols in place for our facilities for quite some time. We also recommend patients wear a mask when entering our facility and in some instances wearing a mask may be required.”
In terms of testing, Kemp said anyone who is feeling sick, such as having a fever, cough, sore throat, trouble breathing or shortness of breath should get tested. Additionally, anyone who has traveled outside of the country or possibly been exposed to someone known to have tested positive should also get tested as a precaution.
To make an appointment for testing, call CHI St. Alexius’ Respiratory Clinic at 701-572-7651. The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.