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Grand Forks Public Health COVID-19 PCR testing results to experience delays

The delays are expected to last at least this week.

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GRAND FORKS — Those receiving a COVID-19 test at UND’s Fritz Pollard Center will likely experience a delay in test results this week.

Grand Forks Public Health said in a news release Monday afternoon, Jan. 24, that the delays will be due to an overwhelming demand for testing due to rapid spread of the virus, as well as widespread lab supply shortages. The combination of these factors is causing increased test turnaround times and delayed result delivery. These factors are shared at the national, state and local levels, GFHP said.

“The process has worked fine, for the most part, until now. We understand the importance of timely test results and are working diligently with partners to expedite result delivery. However, lab processing times and capacity limitations continue to impact turnaround times and are out of our control,” said Marcus Lee, Public Health emergency preparedness coordinator.

Tiffany Boespflug, with Grand Forks Public Health, said PCR results from the testing site had previously been coming in between 24 to 48 hours, but an increase in testing demand means results may not be available for around 72 hours. Results for the rapid antigen tests should still be available within an hour after testing.

“The people that get tested or the people that maybe follow on social media, those are the people that are probably going to realize that it's taking longer,” she said. “There's just so much demand right now for testing, it's kind of overwhelming the systems.”

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Both antigen and PCR testing will continue to be available at the GFPH Fritz Pollard Jr. Athletic Center testing site. Those coming for PCR or antigen test this week, are asked to pre-register at https://testreg.nd.gov before coming on site. PCR swabbing may be nasal or nasopharyngeal.

Testing demand has gone up in recent weeks. From mid-December to mid-January there were a little more than 2,000 tests processed a week at the Pollard site. But in the last couple of weeks, Boespflug said there has been around 5,000 tests a week. On Monday alone there were 1,205 test completed, she said.

Boespflug said to her knowledge no one has been denied a test due to lack of supplies, but some people have been turned away because they may have showed up as the testing site was closing at 11 a.m.

Those who have waited beyond 72 hours for PCR results, or beyond an hour for antigen testing results, should visit https://www.health.nd.gov/covidtestresults and follow the instructions provided. Individuals can also call the result notification hotline at 701-204-6664.

Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.


For story pitches contact her at smook@gfherald.com or call her at 701-780-1134.
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