Minnesota to open 3 new COVID-19 community testing sites as demand spikes

Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz’s office announced the state will open three new COVID-19 testing sites, two of which will be in the metro area.

One new testing site will launch in North Branch at the former Nike Outlet Store on Jan. 10. Two other spots in Anoka and Cottage Grove have been selected but the opening dates and exact locations haven’t yet been set.

The announcement comes after an increased demand for post-holiday tests has left some Minnesotans frustrated with the process.

Additionally, the governor’s office said the Minnesota Department of Health has secured another 1.8 million at-home rapid tests for Minnesota schools. MDH is also partnering with local and tribal health officials to distribute 150,000 at-home rapid antigen test kits — which each contain two tests — to Minnesotans who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

"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," Walz said in a statement. "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."

"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," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm stated. "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."

More information on COVID-19 tests can be found online.