News release: State announces new COVID-19 testing site in Grand Rapids

News Release
December 23, 2020

Contact information

State announces new COVID-19 testing site in Grand Rapids

Pop-up site will offer saliva testing to everyone

Today, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced a new temporary COVID-19 testing site at Grand Rapids High School. Testing at this site will occur Wednesday, Jan. 6 through Friday, Jan. 8. Appointments are strongly encouraged, but not required.

“Testing is a key component of our strategy to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Through a robust, collaborative statewide testing program, we have made great progress in removing obstacles to testing. When combined with social distancing, masking, avoiding crowds and staying home when sick, testing can help us slow the spread of COVID-19 and bridge to the better days we know are coming.”

“Our COVID-19 testing strategy has been data-driven since day one with the goal of offering low-barrier testing for every Minnesotan who needs it. The sooner we identify positive cases, the sooner infected individuals can take steps to isolate and stop the spread of the virus,” said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection. “Our community testing strategy continues to expand access all across Minnesota and has already allowed the state to conduct more than half a million COVID-19 tests at community testing sites alone. This disease is spread by people who don’t even know they have it. We want people to get tested, even if they're asymptomatic. If you have been working outside the home during this dial back period, are a case contact or a young adult, you should get tested. By providing more options, we make it more likely that people will get tested and help us stop the spread of the virus.”

The Grand Rapids site is a coordinated effort between the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota National Guard, Itasca County Public Health, Grand Rapids High School, and Vault Health.

“COVID-19 vaccines are coming to Minnesota. However, it will require much patience as we still need to continue to test, in order to mitigate the spread,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health Division manager. “Vaccines will not be widely available to everyone for a few months. We want to have testing available so that no one who is not yet exhibiting symptoms, but may have been exposed, not spread it to others. Please get tested at our community event from Jan. 6-8. We appreciate your support in slowing the spread in Itasca.”

“Protecting frontline workers from COVID-19 is a top priority,” said Bud Stone, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce president. “Getting tested at this site will allow our community to make informed decisions that keep themselves and their neighbors safe.”

“Testing is key to fighting this virus and protecting our families,” said Minnesota House Representative Sandy Layman, District 5B. “We welcome this site to our community and encourage folks to get tested.”

As with all of the state’s community testing sites, testing at the site is offered at no cost. 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 if insurance doesn’t cover some or all of the cost, the state will cover the difference so testing remains open to all at no cost.

Testing is open to anyone who believes they need a COVID-19 test, with or without insurance. State guidance on who should get tested was recently updated and can be found on the Minnesota COVID-19 Response webpage, Who Should Get Tested?.

Those who arrive 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 salivating into a funnel attached to a small tube. Clinic staff will be available on-site to monitor the collection process.

Individuals seeking testing can register at Vault Health. Tests will be processed in Minnesota at the saliva lab in Oakdale run by Vault Health and Infinity Biologix (IBX). Results will be provided via email in approximately 48-72 hours.

Testing Site Location:

Grand Rapids High School
800 NW Conifer Drive
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Hours of Operation:
Wednesday, Jan. 6 – Friday, Jan. 8
12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

-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)