Site will offer free saliva tests to anyone who needs it
In response to the steep increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday morning the opening of a new testing site at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The site will offer saliva testing and operate seven days a week, from 12 pm to 7 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 4 pm on weekends. More testing sites are set to open throughout the state in the next two weeks.
“Over the last week, Minnesotans saw our COVID-19 positivity rate climb higher than ever before,” Walz said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve seen great demand for testing across the state, and today’s announcement brings us closer to getting the virus under control.”
Walz outlined how the sites will offer free-of-charge COVID-19 testing to anyone who wants one, regardless of whether they have symptoms or insurance.
Ten of the 11 additional testing sites include spaces operated by the Minnesota National Guard that are set to remain open until the end of the year. Both saliva and nasal swab testing will be offered at these sites with specific locations yet to be announced. The sites are expected to be open five days a week.
On Monday, the Minnesota Health Department released figures showing 3,930 new cases of the virus and 19 deaths. Sunday’s confirmed cases for new infections were nearly 6,000.
“What’s happening in Minnesota right now is alarming,” said Minnesota Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a statement. “We are seeing record numbers of new cases every few days. And it’s because we’re falling behind the rapid spread of this virus.
“This is truly a statewide outbreak, and we encourage anyone who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to visit one of these no-barrier testing sites,” stated Malcolm.
The governor’s announcement comes on the heels of a bit of good news on the coronavirus vaccine front, with Pfizer unveiling promising developments in its COVID-19 vaccine.
The Minneapolis Convention Center is located at 1301 2nd Ave. South in downtown Minneapolis. To be tested, enter on the west side of the building off 1st Avenue, then continue to exhibit room E. Free parking will be available and marked in nearby surface lots and parking ramps. Due to expected demand, testing will be available seven days a week, noon to 7 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 4 pm on weekends.