(KEYC) — The Minnesota Department of Health announced Friday it will be providing free COVID-19 tests to Minnesotans who need or want to be tested at six National Guard Armory locations throughout the state.
The free testing will only be available through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, beginning Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25.
In the KEYC News Now viewing area, tests will be offered at the Faribault and St. James Armories.
Minnesota National Guard members will have the capacity to collect 2,000 samples a day across those six sites.
The testing sites are a part of the state’s effort to increase screening and eliminate cost barriers across Minnesota and in rural areas.
“These armory clinics are not screening out people for symptoms, but testing anyone who comes in, partly as a way of saying ‘what do you get when you just test a more general population that is willing and wants to be tested," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
“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. “I am grateful the Minnesota National Guard is helping with this important effort.”
Testing at each location will be conducted by a coalition of Minnesota National Guard members and state or local public health employees.
Anyone interested in being tested should know that social distancing and the wearing of a face mask will be enforced at all locations.
The testing teams at each site are comprised of a coalition of National Guard members and state or local public health employees. Social distancing and the practice of wearing a mask will be enforced at the testing locations. Anyone experiencing symptoms should self-quarantine before and after their test until they receive their results.
“These six testing sites across the state eliminate some of the barriers to testing so that we can focus on what matters most — the health of all Minnesotans,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan stated. “Just as this virus disproportionately impacts indigenous communities, people of color, immigrants and refugees, people experiencing homelessness, low-income Minnesotans, older adults, and individuals with preexisting conditions and disabilities, these same communities often face the most barriers to access testing.”
Who can be tested?
Any Minnesotan. The Minnesota Department of Health especially encourages those who are ill and those who have been directly exposed to a known COVID-19 positive contact.
How will the testing take place?
No appointment is necessary. National Guard members will swab the inside of your nose and ask you to complete paperwork with your name and contact information so you can be contacted with results. Results will be provided by phone and expected within an average of 48 hours.
Is there a charge for the test?
There is no charge for the testing and Minnesotans will not be asked for insurance cards or ID.
When can I be tested?
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Memorial Day)
Will there be future opportunities like this?
MDH says future testing events depend on several factors, including demand demonstrated this weekend. Minnesotans can find other testing facilities as well as a symptom screening tool by visiting the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.