MDH releases new guidance on who should get tested for COVID-19

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: November 20, 2020 06:35 PM
Created: November 20, 2020 12:39 PM

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday released new guidance regarding who should get tested for COVID-19.

With new restrictions set to go into effect Friday night, MDH said it's important to prioritize workers in industries that remain open, such as health care workers, child care workers, retail and grocery employees, public safety officials and others working to keep critical infrastructure running.

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The new guidance says:

  • Anyone with symptoms should still get tested immediately. Symptoms can include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. People with symptoms should also stay home until a negative test result is received, and MDH said an at-home test may be the best option for anyone with symptoms. However, community testing sites are also OK for anyone with mild symptoms; people with moderate to severe symptoms should call a doctor, health care provider or go to a hospital.
  • Anyone who was exposed to someone who had COVID-19 should be tested, although it's best to wait to get tested until at least five days after the exposure, as being tested too soon may not detect the virus. Anyone who's been exposed should stay home for 14 days, even if a negative test is received, MDH says.
  • Anyone working at places that remain open during the newest restrictions is urged to get tested, including those mentioned above. MDH says, even if you don't have symptoms and don't think you've been exposed, you are still at risk. MDH urges these people to get tested at least once before Dec. 18. At-home tests can be a good option or you can make an appointment at a community testing site.

Additionally, MDH urged Minnesotans to make an appointment for getting tested and only use the walk-in option if a test is urgently needed that day, as too many walk-ins creates long lines and increases the potential for unsafe gatherings.

“Testing is an important tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and we are committed to providing no-barrier access for everyone who needs it,” MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said. “We don’t want people to be confused by their options - it can be difficult to know which test people should take, and when exactly they should take it. Our updated criteria will help people more quickly determine what’s best for them in their situation.”

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