With the new school year around the corner, Wiliston’s static COVID-19 testing site will be moving to a new location, the Upper Missouri Valley Fairgrounds, starting at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17.
Williston’s static testing site is open to anyone 12 years old and up to get free testing for coronavirus.
This is a drive-through event to limit close contact. Those wishing to participate in the static testing must be in a motor vehicle.
Cars will access the testing site by lining up on 53rd Street to turn into the fairgrounds, after which traffic control officers will provide additional guidance. Turn on your vehicle’s four-way flashers to let traffic controllers know you intend to enter the COVID testing line.
Cars may begin lining up for the testing event starting at 3:30 p.m., but those attending are asked to pre-register for the test online at https://testreg.nd.gov/.
“We want to limit contact to less than 15 minutes and to just be judicious with everyone’s time to get them through the process as quickly as we can,” said Daphne Clark, public information officer for Upper Missouri District Health Unit.
An email confirmation should be sent to you, but if it gets lost and does not arrive, you can still go to the testing site. The staff should be able to find your details.
Tests will be given until 6 p.m. or until all test kits have been used.
Those not planning to get a test are asked to avoid the fairgrounds area if possible while the static testing event is taking place.
Clark said the purpose of the static COVID-19 testing site is to give people who may not have symptoms free testing opportunities.
Gov. Doug Burgum announced the static sites a few weeks ago, as part of an effort to ensure no one who needs one is denied a coronavirus test, and to meet the goal of 5,000 coronavirus tests daily.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota Department of Health have indicated as many as 30 to 40 percent of people have either very mild or no symptoms at all from coronavirus infections. Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals, however, can still spread the disease to others who are more vulnerable to an infection, according to the most recent studies by health experts.
“This gives people who don’t necessarily have symptoms a place to get tested if they cannot get into local health care,” Clark said.
Testing is recommended for anyone who needs to interact with someone who is vulnerable, people who travel a lot, students returning to school, anyone who has recently been in a large gathering, even if they don’t have any symptoms.
“Right now the recommendation is for college staff, teachers, and students to get tested before school starts,” Clark said. “Those are groups that wouldn’t fit into going into a clinic to get tested. This gives them a place to go.”
Clark said attendance at the static testing each Monday has varied.
“Week before last, 125 people were tested,” she said. “This week, it was 179. It goes up and down.”
The static site will continue to be available for the “foreseeable future,” Clark added. “As we know, everything with this has been fluid.”