Sanford Health to provide COVID-19 testing for NBA All-Star Game

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sanford Health is expanding its presence in professional sports. On Monday, the health system signed an extension with the PGA TOUR to continue COVID-19 testing.

Today Sanford announced another high profile job.

The NBA has its own COVID-19 testing solutions, but turned to Sanford Health to conduct testing for players, coaches, and staff at NBA All-Star Weekend.

“This is just a really on-site specific need, so having a mobile lab is really a solution that they were looking for, something they could have on-site for their testing needs,” Sanford Laboratories Senior Executive Director Rochelle Odenbrett said.

A mobile testing lab arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday and is currently set up at the players’ hotel. Lab technicians will start testing on Friday.

“It’s the exact same equipment that we use for the PGA and we’re very excited to be able to get these results turned around quickly for the NBA players and the individuals that are part of the event,” Odenbrett said.

NBA All-Star Weekend has been consolidated into a single-day event with the slam dunk contest at halftime of the all-star game. Participants will be tested twice over the course of the weekend.

“We typically do between 500 and 700 tests a week for the PGA, this is going to be 500 to 700 tests in a weekend, so it’s going to be a pretty high volume, a lot of work, the techs are going to be busy,” Odenbrett said.

Technicians can process about 32 tests per hour, with results in 60-90 minutes. They’re using Rapid PCR Testing.

“So the PCR-based technology is really the best test we have available on the market. It’s just done a little bit faster than what we can do in a main testing lab,” Odenbrett said.

Odenbrett will join the team in Atlanta on Friday.

“Boots on the ground working hard with the rest of the team, just ensuring that we’ve got smooth operations, that we don’t have any bumps in the road and we can get the players on the courts and making sure everybody’s safe,” Odenbrett said.

The NBA All-Star Game is Sunday night at 7:00. The skills event and three-point contest are before the game, while the slam dunk contest is scheduled for halftime.

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