New COVID-19 community testing sites in Minnesota

Governor Tim Walz announced Tuesday that the state will expanded testing capacity for Minnesotans. According to a press release, the state will open three new COVID-19 testing sites. The announcement comes after an increased demand for post-holiday tests has left some Minnesotans frustrated with the process.

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.

There are multiple health provider locations across the Northland that do COVID testing with an appointment. The community testing sites at the DECC and the Hibbing Armory remain open. Check the COVID testing locations page for days and times of operation.

"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."

To help meet increased testing demand in the metro area, Governor Walz directed the National Guard to open the two new community testing sites at armories in the metro in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health.

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 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."

How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test: