News release: As vaccinations rise, state to sunset Worthington COVID-19 community testing site due to steady drop in testing demand, decreasing cases and positivity in area

News Release
May 21, 2021

As vaccinations rise, state to sunset Worthington COVID-19 community testing site due to steady drop in testing demand, decreasing cases and positivity in area

Site has offered no-cost, low barrier testing to all, with or without insurance, since December 2020

Today, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced the Worthington community testing site will sunset and host its last day of testing on Sunday, May 23 with the expiration of the rental agreement at the Worthington Event Center. This change corresponds with the continued decrease in testing demand at the site as well as decreasing positivity rates and case numbers in the area. The decreases in testing demand, positivity rate and cases are, in part, due to the successful efforts by the state, community-based organizations, local public health and area businesses to boost vaccinations in the region.

After the site sunsets, the region will continue to have access to the state’s no-cost at-home testing program, in addition to local opportunities in the area.

“Testing for COVID-19 has been a key part of our strategy to combat this pandemic and the work in Worthington reflected the best of what is possible in communities when people come together with a shared purpose,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Thank you to all who answered the call to make this work possible and help bridge the gap between a time before the vaccines when testing was in high demand and today, when 56% of Nobles County has received at least one dose.”

Since the COVID-19 testing site at the Worthington Event Center launched in December of 2020, over 2,900 tests have been conducted.

“While there is no longer a need for this type of large-scale mass testing site in Worthington, testing remains a key component of protecting Minnesotans under 12 and anyone who has not received their shot yet.” Commissioner Malcom continued. “The state continues to encourage folks in the Worthington area who are not fully vaccinated or aren’t eligible for the vaccine yet to get tested through the state’s no-cost at-home testing program as well as local avenues.”

The state launched the testing site in partnership with the City of Worthington, Nobles County, the Worthington Event Center and Vault Health.

“Community testing has been very beneficial for our community, and we very much appreciate this opportunity,” said Stacie Golombiecki, Community Services Director for Nobles County.

“This site helped our community reduce the spread of the virus while folks began doing their part to get vaccinated,” said Steve Robinson, City Administrator of Worthington. “We are thankful for the extra testing capacity it provided before vaccine supply from the federal government caught up with demand.”

In partnership with Unidos, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, SpeciaLysts and other community leaders in Worthington, the state led an outreach campaign in March 2021 to boost vaccinations among frontline workers in food processing and agriculture for a vaccination event the state was launching. In total, over 615 doses were administered at the event.

In October 2020, the state also conducted a serology testing initiative in Worthington, which tested over 1,720 individuals for COVID-19 antibodies.

Minnesotans are encouraged to walk-in or make an appointment through Sunday, May 23 at the Worthington Event Center testing site, located at 1477 Prairie Drive. Its hours of operations are Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test:

How Minnesotans can get their shot:

  • Walk in or make an appointment through the Vaccine Connector at one of the state’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program locations.
    • Appointment hotline: 833-431-2053, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Use the state’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a vaccine provider near you.
  • Check for vaccine appointments using the Vaccine Finder at Vaccines.gov. You can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).
  • Contact your primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.
  • Employers may also reach out with information about vaccination opportunities.

-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)