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The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is hosting two free mass screening events using rapid antigen tests this weekend in partnership with the North Dakota National Guard, local public health units and local community leaders.

A Bismarck screening event will take place from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Gateway Mall near the Planet Fitness area (visitors can enter through any of the mall entrances). Screenings will continue in that location Sunday, Dec. 20, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

In Fargo, a screening event will be offered at 210 N. Broadway in the Loretta Building 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. Both events are open to the public and the screenings are free to participants. The screening, however, is for asymptomatic visitors only. If you are sick, DO NOT attend these events and isolate at home. Unless it is an emergency, ALWAYS call ahead before visiting your doctor. 

By screening with rapid antigen tests, event attendees will be able to receive their test results within 15 minutes via text notification. The test also is less invasive than a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test in that it uses a nasal swab to collect a sample from the lower part of the nostril.

If a person tests positive, they should isolate at home immediately and a case investigator will be in touch with them within 24 hours. If the screening yields a negative result, individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms.

Interested individuals can fill out an online survey at testreg.nd.gov for faster registration.

“By using rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 screening of asymptomatic individuals, we can get nearly immediate test results which gives us the ability to isolate COVID-19 positive individuals more quickly,” said Interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke. “We want to thank those who made their facilities available for these screening events. Their support is helping us to further mitigate against COVID-19 and slow the spread.”

For more information about rapid antigen tests and North Dakota’s screening strategies, visit https://www.health.nd.gov/rapid-antigen-screening

In addition to the two screening events, several local public health units across North Dakota continue to host free testing for community members. A list of testing events can be found at health.nd.gov/covidtesting. During these events, a PCR test is typically used. When using this type of test, it may take 24-72 hours to receive a positive test result and up to 72 hours to receive a negative test result.

North Dakotans should continue to follow #NDSmart guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, including staying home when sick, staying six feet apart, avoiding large gatherings, washing your hands often, avoiding touching your face, wearing a mask and continuing to clean frequently touched surfaces.

For more information on COVID-19, visit health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

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