In order to expand access to free, “no barrier” COVID-19 testing, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Thursday, Nov. 12, 11 new longer-term COVID-19 testing sites will open across Minnesota in the coming weeks. Ten of the testing sites will be at National Guard Armories in Albert Lea, Anoka, Crookston, Fairmont, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Inver Grove Heights, Morris, Stillwater, and Wadena. The 11th will be in the west metro.

The Wadena National Guard Armory is located at 517 Jefferson St. N., and is expected to open Tuesday, Nov. 17. Testing is available for people with or without symptoms. You can walk-in between noon and 6 p.m., make an appointment at www.primarybio.com/r/wadena or call 1-855-612-0677. Wadena County Public Health encourages people to make an appointment to avoid wait times.

All of the new testing sites, as well as the mail order program, offer COVID-19 testing to any Minnesotan who wants to be tested, whether they have symptoms or not, and does not require insurance, according to a Minnesota Department of Health news release. Some sites will offer nasal swab testing, others will offer saliva testing. They will stay in operation until at least the end of the year to provide sustained testing capacity across the state.

The sites at National Guard armories will be staffed by a combination of local public health staff and members of the Minnesota National Guard. Nearly 100 members of the National Guard are being deployed to provide support with logistics, registration, check in and check out, supply management and transportation. These sites will replace the “pop-up” style of community testing events, which for the past several months would arrive in a community for 2-3 days of testing.

Test at home

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In addition to the 11 new testing sites, the COVID-19 Test at Home program is now available to all Minnesotans across the state. This is an expansion from the pilot, which was previously made available in 23 counties and the Red Lake Nation.

Through the COVID-19 Test at Home program, any person in Minnesota can order a saliva test to be delivered at their home with expedited shipping. The test is then sent to the new lab in Oakdale, for processing.

“The pilot program provided valuable insight and important information about how the program works in practice, not just in our more populated areas of the state, but in our smaller communities as well. Using what we’ve learned, we’ve made the Test at Home program easier to use, more accessible, and more user-friendly,” said Dan Huff, assistant commissioner for health protection.

Find more information about the COVID-19 Test at Home program and find the link to order a test at COVID-19 Test at Home.

COVID-19 testing at Wadena Armory

The Wadena Armory has free COVID-19 testing from noon-6 p.m. on the following dates.

  • Nov. 17-19
  • Nov. 23-24
  • Dec. 1-5
  • Dec. 9-11
  • Dec. 16-19
  • Dec. 21-22
  • Dec. 28-30
  • Jan. 4-7
  • Jan. 13-16
  • Jan. 20-22
  • Jan. 27-30