MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — A new COVID-19 testing clinic in Mankato is using an innovative method to diagnose its patients: saliva samples.
“They’ll come in, you will spit in a tube, we will guide you through that whole process, you drop your tube off, and you’ll get your results via email in about 48 hours,” said Shawn Baxley, vice president of field operations at Vault Health.
Located at the former Gander Mountain building on Adams Street in Mankato, it’s the fifth of 10 COVID-19 testing clinics the state plans to open in the coming weeks.
The clinic offers free testing to all Minnesotans who believe they may need a COVID-19 test, including those who are asymptomatic.
“Testing is one of the key strategies to help fight this disease and the reason is because if you know that you are positive, you can take action steps to isolate, to quarantine, and prevent yourself from spreading that disease to your friends, to your family, and to your community,” explained Sara Severs.
Those who come for a saliva test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample.
“They’ll come in, they register, if they have a smartphone, we ask that they bring it," Baxley added. "We don’t use paper here, because it could cross-contaminate, but we want this to be no-barrier testing. So, if you don’t have a smartphone, come on in. We have devices here that are sanitized and assist you through the registration process.”
Health officials say the saliva test is just as effective as the traditional nasal swab and is more comfortable to take. The facility is large enough to accommodate walk-ins and appointments, which can be made online by visiting Vault Health’s COVID-19 testing webpage.
It will be open Fridays through Tuesdays. Hours are 12 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The site will remain open until the end of the year.