COVID-19 Testing - Minnesota Dept. of Health
CDC has updated their COVID-19 guidance to help you better understand how to protect yourself and others, and what to do if you test positive or are exposed. More information is available at CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others. MDH is actively working on updating our website and materials.

COVID-19 Testing

On this page:
Testing options
Who should get tested
Waiting for your test results
Test types and data

Testing options

There are several COVID-19 testing options available, including clinics, community test sites (rapid and saliva), and self-tests that you can take at home. Many COVID-19 tests are free, but a health care provider may charge for their time.

Find Testing Locations
Find options for state community rapid and saliva testing, as well as some clinics. For more information about testing options, including low- and no-cost testing, visit Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Testing.
  • Community Testing
    What to expect at the state's no-cost rapid and saliva community testing sites.

  • COVID-19 Self-testing
    What to know about tests that give results at home, how to get free self-tests, and how to check for extended expiration dates on self-tests.

  • COVID-19 Vault Saliva Testing at Home
    Ordering of new tests for this at-home option ended on March 31. Vault saliva tests can be used until they expire, or until Dec. 31, whichever is first. Vault tests can be done at home (collecting the saliva specimen) but must be sent to a lab to get the results.

Who should get tested

These people should get tested for COVID-19:

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  • Get tested right away, even if you have been vaccinated or had COVID-19 in the past. If you leave your home to get a test, wear a mask, and keep distance from other people as much as possible.
  • If you use a self-test, read all of the instructions carefully. Most self-tests are antigen tests. The box should tell you what kind of test you have.
  • If you had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, you still need to get tested if you develop new symptoms. You should take an antigen test instead of a molecular test (for example, a PCR or NAAT test) because molecular tests can continue to detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) even after you feel better.
  • If you have a negative antigen test, you should have another test. Multiple negative antigen tests mean you can be more sure that you are not infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • If you used a self-test, the CDC and FDA recommend repeat testing after a negative antigen result whether or not you have symptoms. Follow the manufacturer instructions in your self-test kit for when to take another test. For more details on repeat testing, refer to At-Home COVID-19 Antigen Tests-Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk of False Negative: FDA Safety Communication.
    • If you got an antigen test at a clinic or other testing location, get another antigen test in 24 to 48 hours.
    • People who have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days can also get a PCR or other molecular test to confirm their negative antigen result. They should get the test as soon as possible after the antigen test.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about what test to use and when to test.
  • Visit If You Are Sick or Test Positive for information on staying home and wearing a mask if you have symptoms.
  • Start wearing a mask right away and get tested five full days after the last time you were close to a person with COVID-19. Day zero is the last day of close contact, and day one starts the day after your last close contact, so you would get tested on day 6.
    • If your test result is negative, continue to wear a mask for 10 full days even if you have been vaccinated or had COVID-19 in the past. For information on what to do if you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, visit Close Contacts or Exposure to COVID-19.
    • If you start to have symptoms, get tested right away.
  • If you have a negative result from an antigen test, the CDC and FDA recommend repeat testing whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms.
    • If you used a self-test, the CDC and FDA recommend repeat testing after a negative antigen result. Follow the manufacturer instructions in your self-test kit for when to take another test. For more details on repeat testing, refer to At-Home COVID-19 Antigen Tests-Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk of False Negative: FDA Safety Communication.
    • If you got an antigen test at a clinic or other testing location, get another antigen test in 24 to 48 hours.
    • People who have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days can also get a PCR or other molecular test to confirm their negative antigen result. They should get the test as soon as possible after the antigen test.
  • If you tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 30 days, you do not need to get tested after close contact with a person with COVID-19 if you do not have symptoms.
  • Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about what test to use and when to test.
  • Visit Close Contact or Exposure to COVID-19 for more information about what to do if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, including how long to wear a mask and other precautions to take after an exposure.

Travel within the United States

International travel

  • Test on the day of an indoor gathering or event, as close to the time of the event as possible, especially if you will be around people who are immunocompromised, at higher risk of severe disease, or older adults. Refer to CDC's People with Certain Medical Conditions and Risks and Vaccine Information for Older Adults for more information.
  • Do not attend any gathering if you have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of the test result.
  • Following any event, test immediately if you develop symptoms. If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, test five full days after the event (test on day six).

If you are around someone who is immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease, consider getting tested before you spend time with them and consider wearing a mask when around them regardless of the COVID-19 community level. For more detailed information on illnesses or conditions that put people at higher risk of getting severely sick if they get COVID-19, visit CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions.

People who are immunocompromised may not respond as well to COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your health care provider for testing recommendations.

This may include first responders, health care workers, or others.

  • Even if you do not have symptoms or you have not had close contact with someone known to have COVID-19, you should still get tested if there is setting-specific public health guidance or special rules for the place where you work. Ask your employer about how often you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Setting-specific guidance for testing includes:

Follow testing requests from health care providers or public health workers. Specific recommendations may be provided for cases and contacts associated with outbreaks or clusters.

For more information on testing, refer to CDC: COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know.

COVID-19 Testing Recommendations grid COVID-19 Testing Recommendations (PDF)
Testing grid based on situation, setting, or travel.
Updated 7/8/22

Waiting for your test results

It can take several days for test results to come back. The place that did your testing will get the results to you.

Poster: What to Do While You Wait for a COVID-19 Test Resut What to Do While You Wait for a COVID-19 Test Result (PDF)
Updated 2/25/22

Test types and data

Updated Monday, 19-Sep-2022 11:42:19 CDT