Minnesotans flock to COVID-19 testing sites ahead of New Year’s festivities

Minnesotans rushed over to state-run testing sites Thursday to try and squeeze in COVID-19 testing ahead of New Year’s Eve.

State-run testing sites are closed on New Year’s Eve and day.

A handful of people saw the long lines at the Minneapolis Convention Center and left because of the wait times.

“I got to get the test because I had close contact so I kind of have to wait,” said Nicholas Wilson, who was getting a test.

Minnesotans are scrambling for COVID-19 tests as opportunities dwindle ahead of New Year’s Eve.

“I’m not surprised. I figure a lot of people are trying to get a test done here,” said Peyton Heimermann, who was getting a test Thursday.

Patients faced long lines at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and some said they waited for over an hour.

Mary Dougherty beat the long wait by planning ahead.

“I asked if there was a different line if you had an appointment and they did move people with appointments to the front of the line,” Dougherty said.

Health officials are urging people to get tested before holiday gatherings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend vaccinated people get tested five to seven days after exposure. People who are unvaccinated should test right away. Vaccinated or not, health officials said people exhibiting symptoms should get a COVID test.

“I went up to Duluth for a family gathering and we all tested beforehand, but we did have one of my nephews actually tested positive right after being with us. So I came here on an abundance of caution,” Dougherty said.

Patients told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they’re just hoping to ring in the new year COVID-free.