Sanford is official mobile COVID-19 testing partner of PGA

Health system will test golfers, caddies and staff at each tournament stop

Sanford Health has a history of investing in golf.

From Great Shots, to the Sanford POWER Golf Academy, and the Sanford International, the health care organization has played its part to support the sport.

However, officials now say it’s being taken to another level.

The health care provider announced it’s the official mobile COVID-19 testing partner for the PGA TOUR.

How it started

Micah Aberson is the executive vice president at Sanford Health.

He says throughout the pandemic the health organization “has been focused on how we can be on an offense against COVID.”

That offense-minded approach grabbed the attention of Andy North, and other PGA TOUR officials.

“Andy called up one day and said ‘Hey Micah, we’ve been made aware that the PGA TOUR is thinking about testing their players to get them back in a competition. Do you think you could be a resource for them?'” said Aberson.

Then, Aberson contacted Miller Brady, commissioner of the PGA TOUR Champions.

“We said ‘Hey, we’ve got an opportunity. We’ve got some resources with mobile testing units, and we’d love to be your partner.'”

How it works

Sanford Health will deploy three mobile testing units across the U.S., according to senior executive director of Sanford Laboratories Rochelle Odenbrett.

Each unit houses three Sanford Health lab technicians, who will conduct testing.

“The mobile testing units will arrive on Saturday morning. We will get set up and begin collections and testing on all of the PGA staffers, golfers, and caddies beginning at noon. We’ll stay there and do testing throughout the preparations for the tournament,” said Odenbrett.

The crew will stay through Thursday of the tournament, and drive to the next closest tournament location.

“The PGA players and staffers will all get collected using a nasal pharyngeal collection process that goes up into the nasal passages, and we use a small swab to collect the sample.

“We transport the sample to our mobile testing unit, and then the testing occurs right inside the truck. The results come out and get interfaced right into the PGA’s electronic system for results,” she added.

From beginning to end, the process takes two to four hours.

“When we think about how COVID testing started at the beginning of this outbreak, it was taking days to get results back. We were having to send samples into either a reference laboratory or the the CDC for testing, or state departments of health.

“Now we’re able to do this testing onsite at many of our health care systems for us here in this mobile unit. So it is very exciting to be able to reduce that turnaround time, and get results out quickly,” said Odenbrett.

FAQs about coronavirus testing at the PGA

Will this partnership take away from any tests that would have been available to patients in the Sanford Health footprint?

It will not. Sanford Health is very confident in its ability to meet all of the demands for testing in its regions.

How many people does Sanford Health anticipate testing at each tournament?

Sanford Health can test 400-500 people during each tournament.

How many people can Sanford Health test in a day?

Lab technicians can test approximately 32 people per hour.

How accurate are the results of the tests?

Testing is based on molecular PCR technology, which looks directly for the presence of the virus in the patient’s sample. Because they directly measure the virus, molecular testing methods are both sensitive and specific. They’re able to detect small amounts of the virus and reliably detect the virus, even if other viruses or bacteria are present too.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Golf, News

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