COVID-19 Community Testing - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

COVID-19
Community Testing

On this page:
Community testing site options
Which community testing site should I use?
Test costs
Testing site safety and access
Resources

Testing is available all residents of Minnesota at no cost to them. Anyone can get tested for COVID-19 – with or without insurance. All sites take extra care to keep the virus from spreading.

Minnesotans can visit any COVID-19 community testing site. However, PCR tests are the recommended testing option for people who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. State community testing sites offer saliva PCR tests.

In-person translation and/or Language Line interpreter assistance is available at all community testing sites. Some testing sites have COVID-19 Community Coordinators to help guide people through the testing process. You can connect with a COVID-19 Community Coordinator at any time for testing help: COVID Community Coordinator Search.

Community testing site options

Community testing sites offer rapid antigen nasal swab tests, PCR saliva tests, or both. If those testing options are not right for you, you may also contact your health care provider or go to Find Testing Locations for other testing options.

Rapid testing

  • These types of community testing sites offer rapid antigen nasal swab tests.
  • Rapid testing only sites will test people of any ages, including infants.
  • Staff will administer the nasal swab for you at these sites.
  • Staff may ask you questions about COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. In some limited cases, staff will determine if you will also need a nasal swab PCR test. Nasal swab PCR tests are not available upon request.
  • These sites are operated by Homeland Health Specialists, often in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard.

Community rapid testing sites use nasal swab antigen tests. Rapid antigen tests look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus and produce results more quickly than other tests.

Rapid antigen tests are recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19.

You do not need an appointment to get tested at a community rapid testing site, but it is best to schedule a testing appointment online before you go, if you can. To make a rapid test appointment, visit COVID-19 Community Testing Sites and choose the site you would like to visit.

Families can make one appointment using one email address and go to the testing site together to get tested as a group. However, each family member must register their information online separately to get their test results.

If you have health insurance, bring your insurance card to the test site. The state may ask your insurance company to help pay for the test. With or without insurance, you pay nothing and can get tested.

Instructions will be provided at the testing location.

Rapid test results at state sites will be available within approximately 1-3 hours of processing. You will get a text and/or email from the testing company that says you can access your results online.

If your test is negative:

  • You may need an additional PCR test.
  • If you received an additional PCR test, stay at home and away from others while you wait for your PCR test results to confirm that it is negative.
  • Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

A rapid test result can be negative for several reasons, including:

  • You are not currently infected with COVID-19. If you took the test while you had symptoms and followed instructions carefully, a negative result means your current illness is probably not COVID-19.
  • You are infected with COVID-19, but the test returned a false negative result. Tests with lower sensitivity are more likely to lead to a false result.
  • You took the test too early in your infection, and not enough virus was present for the antigen test to detect it.

If your test is positive:

  • Stay home and away from others. Visit If You Are Sick for more information on caring for yourself and others.
  • You may get a phone call or a text message from the health department. Please make sure to answer. The results of your test are not shared with anyone outside of your public health department. We do not share your information with other government agencies, employers, or health care providers.

Saliva testing

  • These types of community testing sites only offer saliva PCR tests.
  • You will self-administer the test.
  • People of any age can use saliva PCR tests if they can produce enough saliva for a test. Saliva tests may be difficult for infants and children under the age of 4.
  • Do not eat, chew, smoke, or drink anything (including water) for at least 30 minutes before starting a saliva test.
  • These sites are operated by Vault Health.

Saliva and rapid testing

  • These types of community testing sites offer both saliva PCR and rapid antigen nasal swab tests. Visitors to these sites can choose which test they want to take. Refer to Tests offered at this site (PDF) for more information.
  • If you choose to do a rapid antigen nasal swab test, you will self-administer the test and swab your nose. Vault testing site staff will not administer nasal swab tests.
  • Children under the age of 2 are not eligible to take a rapid antigen nasal swab test at these sites.
  • People of any age can use saliva PCR tests if they can produce enough saliva for a test. Saliva tests may be difficult for infants and children under the age of 4.
  • Do not eat, chew, smoke, or drink anything (including water) for at least 30 minutes before starting a saliva test.
  • These sites are operated by Vault Health.

Tests at community saliva testing sites are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, molecular tests that detect the virus's genetic material. PCR tests are the recommended testing option for people who do not have symptoms.

Saliva PCR tests may not be the right test for everyone. Young children, people who have had a stroke, and others with dry mouth who cannot make enough saliva needed for the test may need to take a nasal swab test. People need to be able to spit into a small tube enough times to get the right amount of saliva for testing. It can take 10 to 12 minutes to get enough saliva.

You do not need an appointment to get tested at a community testing site, but it is best to schedule an appointment with Vault Health online before you go, if you can. The online form to schedule an appointment asks for your name, phone number, and email address. Scheduling an appointment will allow you to set up your Vault registration before you go to the testing site. Registering ahead of time will help the process at the testing site go faster. If you do not have an email address or are not able to register online, you can register at the test site.

If you schedule an appointment, you will get an email confirming your appointment. This email will also have a link to Vault Health. Follow the link to complete the registration process.

Families can make one appointment using one email address and go to the testing site together to get tested as a group. However, each family member must register their information online separately to get their test results.

Registering multiple family members

Everyone needs their own account to get tested, including children. If two or more people use the same account, all test results tied to that account will be thrown out and everyone who used that account will have to get tested again.

If you or your family members do not already each have an email account that you can use to complete registration, you can do one of the following:

  • Option 1: Set up an email account for each person. Several companies offer free email accounts, including Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. You can set up an account using any of these companies. Test results will be sent to each person's email account.
  • Option 2: After scheduling additional family members using one email, set up an account for each person with Vault Health. If you create a Vault account, your test results are given to you over the phone and can also be accessed through your account online.
    Set up a Vault Health account:
    • After you schedule a testing appointment, you will get a confirmation email. This email will have a link to Vault Health, where you can create accounts for your family member(s).
    • Create a login name that begins with "MNC19+" and the person's first and last name. For example: MNC19+jane_doe@vaulthealth.com.
    • Include your insurance information, if you have insurance.
    • Call Vault customer service if you have questions or need help: 800-800-5698.

If you have health insurance, bring your insurance card to the test site. The state may ask your insurance company to help pay for the test. With or without insurance, you pay nothing and can get tested.

A testing supervisor oversees the process to make sure the test is done the right way, but people do the test themselves.

If you got tested because you have COVID-19 symptoms or had contact with someone with COVID-19, stay home and away from others until you get your test results.

Saliva (PCR) test results are ready within 72 hours after the lab gets your test sample, and possibly sooner.

  • If you used an email account to sign up for your test, your results are sent to your email address.
  • If you used a Vault Health account to sign up for you or a family member, Vault Health calls you with the results. This call comes to your phone from an "Unknown" caller. You need to answer this call, because it is not possible to leave a message about test results. The results are also sent to your Vault Health account. Log in at Vault Health: Welcome Back, using the Vault Health email address and password you created to sign up for your test.

If you do not get your test results within 72 hours, send an email to mn@vaulthealth.com, or call Vault Health customer service at 800-800-5698.

If your test is negative:

  • This means you do not currently have COVID-19. However, you could still be exposed or become sick at any time. Continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

If your test is positive:

  • Stay home and away from others. Visit If You Are Sick or Test Positive for more information on caring for yourself and others.
  • You may get a phone call or a text message from the health department. Please make sure to answer. The results of your test are not shared with anyone outside of your public health department. We do not share your information with other government agencies, employers, or health care providers.

Which community testing site should I use?

If you do not have symptoms:

  • Choose a site that offers saliva PCR tests if possible. PCR tests are the recommended option for people who do not have symptoms.

If you have symptoms:

  • Choose any state site.
  • If you need results quickly, choose a state site that offers rapid testing.
    • At sites with rapid testing only, you will get a rapid antigen nasal swab test.
  • You will get your results from the rapid test quickly. If it is positive, you have COVID-19. If it is negative, you should take a PCR test to confirm.

If you have a young child who cannot do a saliva test:

  • Choose a site that offers rapid testing. All rapid tests at state sites are nasal swabs.
  • If you have a child under 2, go to a state rapid-only site. Do not go to a site that offers both saliva and rapid tests; they will not administer rapid tests for children under the age of 2.
  • If you need a PCR test, contact a health care provider or go to Find Testing Locations for other testing options.

If you or your child require a negative PCR result to return to school, child care, or work:

  • Choose any state community testing site that offers saliva testing.
  • Saliva tests at state sites are all PCR tests.
  • If you cannot do a saliva test, contact a health care provider or go to Find Testing Locations for other testing options.

Test costs

There is NO COST to you for the test. DO NOT pay your insurance company or the testing site for your COVID-19 test.

All costs for this test are paid by your insurance company or the federal or state government. Insurance companies may send you an Explanation of Benefits or "EOB" showing the difference between the billed cost of a COVID-19 test and what they paid for it. You may even see a dollar amount under "patient responsibility." This is NOT a bill. It is just for your information. Your insurance company’s payment to the testing company is the full payment and you pay nothing.

Testing site safety and access

  • All people need to wear a mask or face covering, unless they cannot do so for medical reasons.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not part of your family.
  • Use hand sanitizer that is there for you at the testing site.
  • If you need an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation or have other accessibility needs contact:
    • For rapid only sites, call 1-833-431-2053.
    • For saliva only or saliva and rapid sites, email accessibility@vaulthealth.com or call 1-800-800-5698.
    • Two or three business days before your test date to ensure time to coordinate accommodations.
  • If you prefer a language besides English, there are in-person or Language Line translators available.

Have a Complaint?
Issues with getting your test results or complaints about insurance or fraud.

Resources

Updated Monday, 29-Nov-2021 08:50:34 CST