Sanford Health, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, is deploying an aggressive approach to better understand the COVID-19 outbreak in southwest Minnesota, with a goal of slowing the spread of the illness through extensive testing. Minnesota’s Department of Health is working with JBS to see that all employees have access to testing to minimize disruption at the Worthington plant. Sanford Health will administer that testing.
Starting today, the Worthington Ice Arena will serve as a testing center for those employees. Sanford Health has installed three lanes of drive-thru style testing inside the ice arena to minimize wait times. This testing location is only for JBS employees. Employees must bring their JBS work identification to be tested. In all, more than 2,000 tests should be completed in the coming days.
“We are learning more and more about COVID-19 as this pandemic progresses,” said Dan Heinemann, M.D., chief medical officer for Sanford Health Network. “We know this is a difficult virus. We’re finding that many people who are positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms, but are able to spread the disease to others. The best thing we can do when there’s an uptick in cases around a centralized location is test as many people as possible to get the most accurate assessment of who is positive for the illness.”
Sanford Health has used a similar testing strategy at the Good Samaritan Society – Sioux Falls Village. With a comprehensive tactic to test more than 200 residents and employees of the facility after initial positive reports, cases of the virus leveled off in just days.
Another public drive-thru testing location remains open at Sanford Worthington Clinic. Anyone experiencing possible symptom of COVID-19 should call their provider before going for a test. Sanford Worthington Clinic’s number is (507) 372-3800. Sanford Worthington Clinic remains open and safe for other health care needs.
“We would not be able to do this amount of testing without the expertise of Sanford Health,” said Jennifer Weg, executive director of Sanford Worthington. “Bringing this amount of testing to Worthington is a great service to the entire community.”
As a safety precaution, and for the privacy of those being tested, we ask the public and members of the media to refrain from visiting the testing locations.
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