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Governor Walz Announces Three New COVID-19 Rapid Testing Sites Opening Across Minnesota This Week

With the support of the National Guard, state opening free rapid testing sites in Inver Grove Heights, Wadena, and Hibbing

 

October 27, 2021



Governor Walz also announces a new COVID-19 community saliva testing site will open in Bemidji this week

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz announced an expansion of the state’s community testing network across Minnesota.

This week, the state is launching new COVID-19 community rapid testing sites in Inver Grove Heights, Wadena, and Hibbing. The sites will open on Tuesday, October 26. The sites are being supported by the Minnesota National Guard.

The state is also launching a new COVID-19 community saliva testing site in Bemidji on Thursday, October 28.

“Minnesotans continue to navigate daycare, school, and work all alongside the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Free and fast testing options help families keep their lives on track,” said Governor Walz. “That’s why we continue to expand testing opportunities in the metro and Greater Minnesota to meet Minnesotans where they are. We are taking action to make sure all Minnesotans have access to testing options at our free community testing network.”

“Testing for COVID-19 helps keep our kids safe in the classroom and workers protected on the job,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Free rapid and PCR testing is just what Minnesota families need right now, and that’s why we are standing up new sites across Minnesota to get more tests to Minnesota families.”

"The Minnesota National Guard's motto is 'Always Ready, Always There' and demonstrates our commitment to support Minnesota citizens," said Army Major General Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard's Adjutant General. "We have supported public health activities since March 2020 with varying levels of personnel and activities and are prepared to do so, again."

"Governor Walz requested Minnesota National Guard support for community-based testing sites in the metro and outstate locations," said Army Colonel Scott Rohweder, Minnesota National Guard's Director of Operations. "The service members will be broken into seven teams assisting civil authorities at various sites with conducting testing facility management, performing administrative tasks, and administering COVID-19 tests."

Last week, the state launched new COVID-19 community rapid testing sites in Stillwater, Crookston, and Hutchinson. In just the first week, 635 participants were tested in Stillwater, 157 participants were tested in Hutchinson, and 49 participants were tested in Crookston. These sites are also supported by the Minnesota National Guard. More details on an additional rapid testing site in Albert Lea will be provided in the near future.

The state also began offering rapid tests at existing community testing locations in Moorhead, Saint Paul, Brooklyn Park, and Duluth last week.

Governor Walz launched new community rapid testing sites to help Minnesotans access free, quick testing resources in their communities. These sites will allow Minnesotans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to take an antigen test and receive results in a matter of hours.

In addition to the new state rapid testing sites and rapid options at existing state sites, the Administration is partnering with local public health (LPH) agencies around the state. Sixteen local public health agencies across the state are deploying rapid tests provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, some of which will be used at community testing clinics, while others will be used for targeted testing efforts. Participating agencies will announce their testing plans and appointments processes.

The Walz-Flanagan Administration has steadily expanded testing capacity throughout Minnesota to meet increasing demand for COVID-19 tests. To tackle the Delta variant, the state has opened new community sites in Bloomington, Lino Lakes, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Morris since August. The state has added weekend testing and doubled capacity at the Duluth community testing site and added additional testing capacity to state sites in Mankato, St. Cloud, Moorhead, and Winona.

The state continues to assess current and projected testing needs and will work to execute its comprehensive approach to ensure every Minnesotan has access to free testing to keep their families and communities safe.

Testing is free at all of the state’s community testing sites. Participants that have health insurance will be asked for their insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or if insurance does not cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference, ensuring testing remains open to all at no cost.

Testing at the state’s new rapid sites is recommended for symptomatic Minnesotans and is open to Minnesotans with or without insurance. State guidance on who should get tested can be found on the COVID-19 Testing webpage.

While walk-ins are welcome, people seeking testing at state sites can schedule a test as well. Rapid test results will be available within approximately 1-3 hours of processing.

The details of the new state rapid testing sites are below.

Inver Grove Heights Rapid Testing Site

Opens Tuesday, October 26

Inver Grove Heights Armory

8076 Babcock Trail

Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077

Monday - Friday

From 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Wadena Rapid Testing Site

Opens Tuesday, October 26

Wadena Armory

517 Jefferson St N

Wadena, MN 56482

Monday - Tuesday

11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Hibbing Rapid Testing Site

Opens Tuesday, October 26

Hibbing Armory

2310 Brooklyn Dr

Hibbing, MN 55746

Monday - Tuesday

11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Bemidji Saliva Testing Site

Opens Thursday, October 28

Bemidji Armory

1430 23rd St NW

Bemidji, MN 56601

Monday - Friday

11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test:

• Walk in or schedule an appointment for a test at one of the state’s free rapid and/or saliva community testing sites across Minnesota: COVID-19 Community Testing Sites.

• Order a test through the state’s free at-home COVID-19 testing program: COVID-19 Test at Home.

• Find a testing option near you through the state’s Find Testing Locations map: Find Testing Locations.

How Minnesotans can get their free shot:

• Walk in or make an appointment through the Vaccine Connector: VaccineConnector.mn.gov.

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline

1-833-431-2053

Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

• Use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you: Find Vaccine Locations.

• Check for vaccine appointments using the Vaccine Finder on Find a COVID-19 vaccine near you. You can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).

• Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.

• Employers may also reach out with information about vaccination opportunities.

 

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