SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sanford Health has been hired by the PGA Tour to provide on-site COVID-19 testing for golfers, caddies and other tour personnel, the health system and the PGA Tour announced in a joint news release Wednesday, June 3.
The Sioux Falls-based health system will conduct testing at PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry Tour tournaments in the U.S. through the remainder of the season, which resumes next week.
Sanford Health has been a crucial player in COVID-19 testing in states across its footprint, and until recently was the No. 1 in-state testing provider in South Dakota by volume. The health system has 44 hospitals and several hundred clinics, including major medical centers in Sioux Falls, Fargo and Bemidji, Minn.
Sanford Health lab technicians will run testing in three mobile testing units deployed across the country. Each unit will include a driver and three technicians. Each test swab collection will take less than five minutes, with test results returned in between 2-4 hours, using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction method, abbreviated as RT-PCR.
As part of its deal with the PGA Tour, Sanford Health will be named the "Official COVID-19 On-site Testing Provider of the PGA Tour." Sanford is no stranger working with the PGA. The Health System is title sponsor for the annual Sanford International PGA Tour Champions event in Sioux Falls, set for Sept. 11-13 this year.
“Sanford Health is honored to help ensure a safe return to play for professional golf events in the United States by offering this testing,” said Micah Aberson, executive vice president of Sanford Health, in the news release. “We are incredibly proud of our lab technicians who will represent us at these events as well as all of our health care workers who have gone above and beyond to protect and care for our patients.”
The mobile units will arrive on-site at tournaments the Saturday prior to the event to start running tests, and will remain through the following Thursday before moving to the next tournament site. The mobile testing labs will each test about 400 people a week. Sanford will start testing with next week's Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Not only will Sanford Health’s mobile laboratories enable us to deliver test results in a matter of hours so that our athletes can properly prepare for competition, but they will also allow us to implement our testing program without utilizing critical resources from the communities in which we play, which was of upmost importance to us," said Andy Levinson, PGA Tour senior vice president of tournament administration, in the news release.