Minnesota tightens criteria for COVID-19 testing

Minnesota is offering free COVID-19 testing at six National Guard Armory locations this weekend, including one location in Duluth, where residents needing or wanting a test can receive one.

Minnesota National Guard members will have a capacity of about 2,000 tests per day across six sites totaling about 6,000 tests over the course of the three-day weekend. The Duluth Armory, located at 4015 Airpark Blvd, is the only test site in the region.

Tests are available to all Minnesotans, regardless of symptoms, but are especially encouraged for those feeling sick or directly exposed to a known COVID-19 case, according to a press release from the governor’s office Friday.

“Testing, tracing, and isolating are the best tools we have to understand the impact of the pandemic on our communities and to contain it, so we can continue safely navigating this pandemic,” Gov. Tim Walz said in the release.

Testing will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Memorial Day on Monday. No appointment is necessary.

Each site will have National Guard members and state or local public health employees on staff. Social distancing and wearing a mask will be enforced. Anyone with symptoms should self-quarantine before and after a test until results are received.

National Guard members will swab the inside of the nose and ask people to complete paperwork with your name and contact information so you can be contacted with results. Results will be provided by phone and expected with an average of 48 hours.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 toll continued to escalate Friday as the state Health Department reported 842 Minnesotans have died from the disease, 33 more than Thursday; 534 people are currently hospitalized. Of those, 233 are in intensive care, a new daily high in the pandemic.

Total positive tests for the disease during the outbreak rose above 19,000; about two-thirds of those confirmed with COVID-19 have recovered to the point they no longer need isolation.

“Our falling trend has spiked upward in a fairly significant way yesterday,” said Minnesota Health Department Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a call Friday.


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