MDH to open COVID-19 saliva testing site in St. Paul on Friday

Minnesota health officials will open a COVID-19 saliva testing site in St. Paul on Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday.

The site will be opened at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, adjacent to St. Paul RiverCentre, which will be the first saliva testing location to open in the Twin Cities and the seventh overall in the state.

"Minnesota is seeing an alarming jump in COVID-19 cases and neighboring states are seeing even worse," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. "The good news is that Minnesotans have it in their power to make things better if everyone does their part. Testing is a key part of our strategy, and we’ve made great progress in removing obstacles to testing thanks to strong partnerships across the state. When combined with social distancing, masking, avoiding crowds and staying home when sick, testing helps us slow the spread of COVID-19 and move us closer to the day when we have safe and effective vaccines."

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Testing will be available seven days per week from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

MDH plans to open at least three other saliva testing sites in the metro area in the coming weeks.

Testing is free to all Minnesotans, including those who are asymptomatic. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company but anyone uninsured — or if insurance doesn’t cover some or all of the cost — the state will cover the difference so testing is completely free for everyone.

"The Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul offers access to thousands of people across the east metro, as well as to those in the Twin Cities," said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection. "Our COVID-19 numbers are moving in the wrong direction, but we still have a chance to turn the tide here in Minnesota if everyone does their part; we hope this increased access to testing will help people learn if they are positive for COVID-19 and to isolate when necessary."