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Over the weekend, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) public health lab tested four individuals for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All tests came back negative. Regularly updated information on COVID-19, including the total number of individuals tested, can be found at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

“The process worked how it should,” said state lab director, Dr. Christie Massen. “Concerned individuals talked with their health care providers to evaluate symptoms and travel history and the health care providers reached out to disease control to request the test. We are coordinating delivery from health care facilities to the public health lab seven days a week to ensure quicker results.” 

Everyone has a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Individuals can help protect themselves from COVID-19 by practicing everyday preventative behaviors. Stay home when sick, avoid contact with sick people, cover coughs and sneezes, frequently wash hands with soap and water and clean frequently touched surfaces. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. If you go out, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash hands often. Only individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should be tested. People with recent international or domestic travel to areas with COVID-19, cruises, or people hospitalized with severe respiratory disease should discuss COVID-19 testing with their health care provider. Unless it is an emergency, people who think they may have COVID-19 need to call their health care provider prior to going to the clinic.

The CDC recommends adults over the age of 60 and individuals with multiple underlying conditions refrain from group activities. These individuals are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.

Today, the NDDoH met with leaders and staff from health care facilities, long-term care providers, corrections and rehabilitation facilities and higher education to discuss preparedness and prevention measures. The NDDoH is hosting a teleconference for the business and faith-based communities on Tuesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. to provide an update on COVID-19 and ways that businesses can prepare and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Participants can join at http://health.nd.gov/covidguidance.

For the most updated and timely information and updates related to COVID-19, visit the NDDoH website at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus , follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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