2 more test-to-treat sites coming to Twin Cities, several other testing sites closing
State officials say two more COVID-19 community testing sites in the Twin Cities will soon become test-to-treat locations.
Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and St. Paul-Midway testing sites have been selected to become test-to-treat sites — where patients can get tested, assessed and given a prescription for an antiviral all at the same time and place.
The MSP site will offer test-to-treat options starting Thursday with St. Paul-Midway set to start on Monday, according to MDH. However, the community vaccination site at MSP will end on June 30 to accommodate the test-to-treat site, MDH says. More vaccination sites can be found online.
The two new test-to-treat sites will join the three federally supported test-to-treat sites already operating in Brooklyn Park, Moorhead and Duluth.
MDH says those three sites have prescribed antiviral treatments to more than 300 Minnesotans since they opened earlier this month.
“COVID-19 medication is a very important tool in our toolbox to help prevent severe disease and keep people out of the hospital, and test-to-treat makes it easier for eligible Minnesotans to receive these medicines,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. “Minnesotans who feel ill and are at high-risk of severe COVID-19 should visit a test-to-treat site or speak to their health care provider to see if medication is right for them. We are grateful to our federal partners and testing site hosts who are helping us make these resources more accessible.”
The sites will continue to be at no cost to patients.
The state is still working with the Board of Pharmacy to gain authorization to dispense the antiviral medication at the test-to-treat sites. Until that time, patients will continue to receive prescriptions that will be filled at a nearby pharmacy, MDH says.
Additionally, MDH announced that it is “resizing” its COVID-19 testing network to preserve resources for potential needs in the future. As part of that, the state is closing the following testing locations:
- Albert Lea (last day June 25)
- Bemidji (last day June 29)
- Bloomington (last day June 29)
- Marshall (last day June 29)
- Morris (last day June 28)
- North Branch (last day June 28)
- Wadena (last day June 28)
- Winona (last day June 29)
MDH says the state’s three busiest metro sites (Brooklyn Park, MSP, St. Paul-Midway) and four busiest Greater Minnesota locations (Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, St. Cloud) will remain open until further notice. Appointments can be made online. The state is also offering 240,000 at-home tests to local public health agencies and community coordinators to distribute to families.
The health department says testing demand has been falling rapidly in Minnesota, with just 7,300 tests conducted last week at community testing sites — a 92% drop from peak demand in January.