Governor Walz Announces Expanded Testing Capacity for Minnesotans

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced new COVID-19 testing resources for Minnesotans across the state, including new community testing sites in the Twin Cities and east-central Minnesota, expanded rapid testing availability, and more tests for schools.

“Testing is a key tool for Minnesotans looking to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19 – especially the new, contagious Omicron variant. That’s why we’re expanding the testing options available across Minnesota by opening new community testing sites and providing more at-home rapid tests to communities and schools,” said Governor Walz. “I have directed the National Guard to operate more testing sites to make sure every Minnesotan has access to the convenient testing they deserve, and we’re partnering with schools and community groups to make sure rapid tests are available to students, teachers, and families everywhere.”

“Providing Minnesota families with free and convenient testing is critical to making sure every Minnesotan can access critical COVID-19 resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “By collaborating with the National Guard, Minnesota schools, and community groups, we can make sure more Minnesotans can receive testing when they need it.”

Three new community testing sites will open

To help meet increased testing demand in the metro area, Governor Walz has directed the National Guard to open two new community testing sites at armories in the metro in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health. The National Guard has identified locations in Anoka and Cottage Grove as testing sites. More details on locations, hours, and appointments will be released in the days ahead.

MDH also announced a new community testing site will launch in North Branch on January 10. Appointments are strongly encouraged but walk-ins are also available.

The new site in North Branch will open at the former Nike Outlet Store at 38500 Tanger Dr, North Branch, MN 55056 on January 10. The North Branch site will be open for testing Monday through Friday from 11 am to 6 pm, offering PCR and rapid antigen testing.

Locations, hours, and appointment links for all the state’s community testing sites can be found online .

More test kits for Minnesota schools, child care providers

To provide families with more options to help keep their kids safe, MDH has secured an additional 1.8 million at-home rapid tests for Minnesota schools, on top of the initial 1 million announced last month .

In addition to the state’s free rapid and PCR community testing sites and no-cost at-home testing program, the state’s free school testing options allow each educational institution to determine the best testing strategy for them.

Rapid testing community partnership

The Walz-Flanagan Administration is partnering with community organizations to expand the availability of at-home rapid antigen tests across Minnesota.

In partnership with local public health, tribal health, food banks, and MDH COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs), the state of Minnesota will distribute 150,000 at-home rapid antigen test kits. Each test kit contains two tests.

Providing free at-home rapid testing will reduce barriers and expand access to Minnesotans who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

“Testing is a vital tool for helping lower the risk of COVID-19 for Minnesotans, their families and their communities, so it’s very important to make it as easy as possible for everyone to access,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “Test results only represent one moment in time, so it’s important for people to use the other layers of prevention, including vaccination and boosters, masking, and staying home when sick in order to prevent spread.”

“As much as we wish an end to the pandemic and increased hunger were in sight, that’s just not the case,” said Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland. “We are proud to work with the state and our partner food banks across Minnesota to deliver COVID-19 test kits to food shelves and other hunger-relief organizations. These test kits, alongside the nutritious foods already provided by these organizations, will help keep our neighbors and communities safe and healthy.”

Minnesota also offers rapid testing at many of the state’s community testing sites, and it has provided more than 1.1 million rapid tests to Minnesotans through schools, child care centers, and community testing locations.

How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test:

How Minnesotans can get their free shot:

  • Use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you.
  • Check for vaccine appointments at , where you can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).
  • Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.
  • Walk in to or make an appointment at one of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination sites .

    • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline

      • 1-833-431-2053
      • Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. & Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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