SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The PGA TOUR is set to resume its schedule next week in Fort Worth, Texas. Sanford Health will conduct on-site COVID-19 testing of players, caddies, and essential personnel for that event, and the remainder of the season.
This is one of three mobile testing units that Sanford Health is deploying across the country to conduct COVID-19 testing at 56 PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and Korn Ferry Tour tournaments.
“It’s a great relationship that started here in Sioux Falls with our Sanford International tournament and we had an opportunity that we jumped at to become the official testing partner. We’re awfully excited about it,” Sanford Health Executive Vice President Micah Aberson said.
Rochelle Odenbrett oversees the laboratories for Sanford Health.
“It was really my job to get the mobile unit up and running, make sure that we’ve got staffing for it, ensure that we’ve got the proper licensure and that we can actually go into the states and do the testing that we need to for the PGA TOUR,” Sanford Health Senior Executive Director Rochelle Odenbrett said.
A driver and three technicians will arrive the Saturday prior to a tournament, and remain on-site through Thursday before traveling to the next closest tournament.
“They’ll be kind of rotating responsibilities and we’ll make sure that we get new people brought in every once in awhile so that we can give each other a break, but moving around and getting to all the different tournaments, ensuring that we’re there to do the testing is really our priority,” Odenbrett said.
A test takes less than five minutes, with results in two to four hours. About 400 individuals will be tested at each event, and Aberson expects the process to run smoothly.
“The Tour’s got a really efficient process set up where by the players will run they’ll do their test, couple hours later they’ll have their test result back and be able to walk onto the golf course, and unless they present as symptomatic in any way, shape, or form, they’ll be able to continue to do that throughout the course of the tournament week,” Aberson said.
Aberson says this won’t affect Sanford’s ability to test locally, and is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the PGA TOUR.
“Just being able to play a small role in getting competitive golf back in action is something that our organization takes a lot of pride in,” Aberson said.
The partnership between Sanford Health and the PGA TOUR has only been in the works for about three weeks and started with a phone call from Sanford International Host Andy North.