Four people in North Dakota were tested for the new coronavirus over the weekend, with all four tests coming back negative, the North Dakota Department of Health reported Monday.
Health care providers requested the tests after talking to "concerned individuals" about their symptoms and travel history, said Dr. Christie Massen, state lab director.
The testing involves taking nose and mouth swabs, then sending those samples to the state lab in Bismarck. Results come back in about five hours. The state would send any positive samples to the federal labs affiliated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for final confirmation.
“The process worked how it should,” Massen said, adding that "We are coordinating delivery from health care facilities to the public health lab seven days a week to ensure quicker results."
Results were pending on a fifth test. North Dakota so far has had no positive tests.
Testing is available free of charge to people who meet certain criteria that weigh a person’s level of exposure to the virus and his or her symptoms.
Seven people in North Dakota are being monitored for signs of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The monitoring period is 14 days. As of Monday, 24 people had been monitored.
The health department on Monday met with leaders from health care, long-term care, corrections and rehabilitation, and higher education facilities to discuss preparation and preventive measures.
A teleconference on how businesses and faith-based groups can prepare for and prevent the spread of the virus will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Participants can join at health.nd.gov/covidguidance.
Information on COVID-19 can be found at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus.
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