News release: State to open saliva testing location in St. Cloud on Wednesday

News Release
October 27, 2020

State to open saliva testing location in St. Cloud on Wednesday

Site will offer free saliva tests to anyone who needs it

The State of Minnesota today announced it will open a saliva testing site on Wednesday in St. Cloud. This will mark the sixth saliva testing location in the state, and the fifth in Greater Minnesota, offering free saliva tests to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested.

“Testing is a key component of our strategy to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “The continued increase in cases across Greater Minnesota, tied to small, everyday gatherings, is very concerning. Minnesota has made great progress in removing obstacles to testing for all Minnesotans through a robust, collaborative statewide testing program. When combined with social distancing, masking, avoiding crowds and staying home when sick, testing helps us slow the spread of COVID-19 and bridge to the better days we know are coming.”

Testing will be located at River’s Edge Convention Center, at 10 Fourth Ave South in St. Cloud. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Appointments can be made through the Vault Health registration site.

The state opened the first saliva testing site in Duluth on Sept. 23. Since then, saliva testing locations have opened in Winona, Moorhead, Brooklyn Park, and Mankato; state officials plan to open as many as four more in the Twin Cities metro area in coming weeks. Those tests will be processed right here in Minnesota, at the new saliva lab in Oakdale. Results will be provided via email within 24-48 hours.

“St. Cloud is a hub for Central Minnesota, offering access to thousands of people who live and work in the area, as well as thousands of college students who live here,” said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection. “In recent weeks, we’ve seen a spike in cases in and around St. Cloud, so we hope this increased access to testing will help people learn if they are positive for COVID and to isolate when necessary.”

Testing is free to all Minnesotans who believe they need a COVID test, including those who are asymptomatic. Participants will be asked for their health insurance information so the state can bill their insurance company on their behalf. If a person is uninsured or for any reason insurance doesn’t cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains completely free to everyone.

The same saliva test was also recently made available to 23 counties and the Red Lake Nation through the COVID-19 Test at Home Program. The service will be available soon to all Minnesotans statewide.

The saliva test is a PCR test, just like the traditional nasal swab, with the same effectiveness rate; however, it is more comfortable to take. Those who come for a test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample. Once they arrive at the site, they will self-administer the test by spitting into a funnel attached to a small tube. Clinic staff will be available on-site to monitor the collection process and ensure there is enough saliva to be tested.

“Our strategy to managing the virus continues to be proactive, data-driven, and aggressive,” continued Huff. “A higher testing capacity, combined with masking, social distancing, and isolation when appropriate, is critical to that strategy. Our work to bring saliva testing to Minnesotans is an important supplement to the COVID testing options already offered across the state. Growing and diversifying our testing options is a tool to keeping Minnesotans safe.”

For more information about the saliva testing site in St. Cloud, please visit COVID-19 Community Saliva Testing.

-MDH-


Minnesota Helpline:

For questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.

Mental Health Crisis Line - Call: **CRISIS (**274747)