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Where can I get tested for COVID? How can I receive a vaccine booster shot?

Health leaders recommend testing, which will help you understand if it’s COVID-19, the flu, a cold or strep throat as well as help doctors and scientists understand the virus patterns and spread in the community.

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Has the high number of COVID-19 cases got you wondering if you might be sick?

Health leaders recommend testing, which will help you understand if it’s COVID-19, the flu, a cold or strep throat as well as help doctors and scientists understand the virus patterns and spread in the community. People are encouraged to wait two days after the first symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested, according to a news release from Tri-County Health Care.

So while we wish the pandemic would go away, here’s where you can get tested, when you should get tested and groups who can receive a vaccine booster shot.

RELATED: Rice: Fall COVID surge impacts Northwest Minnesota counties Lakewood Health System president and CEO Tim Rice talks about the impacts of the latest COVID-19 surge of cases in summer and fall 2021.

Where can I get tested?

Both Tri-County Health Care and Lakewood Health System offer testing at their clinics.

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Tri-County has testing by appointment at the Wadena clinic. You can call 218-631-5205 to schedule. The tests may take longer than 24-48 hours to return due to a national testing supply shortage. Rapid tests are available only for high priority cases and Tri-County patients.

Lakewood has drive-up testing by appointment at their Staples and Browerville clinics. Testing is available Monday to Friday. Call 218-894-1515 option 2 for an appointment.

Home saliva tests are also offered through the Minnesota Department of Health at learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota/ . The tests are free. If you have questions, email mn@vaulthealth.com or call 1-800-800-5698.

Additional locations are listed on the MDH website at mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/index.jsp .

When should I get tested?

The Department of Health recommends testing for:

  • Anyone who has symptoms (including people who have had COVID previously or are fully vaccinated)

  • Anyone who has had close contact with someone who tested positive (if people have had COVID in the last 3 months and do not feel sick, you do not need to get tested after exposure)

  • Anyone traveling or returning from travel

  • Anyone who is not fully vaccinated and works in close contact with people, or participates in school or extracurricular activities in-person

  • People with immunocompromising conditions at certain intervals or after specific events

Where can I receive a booster shot?

The Pfizer vaccine has received approval for a third dose for specific groups of people. The third dose is available at least six months after the second dose for:

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  • Individuals 65 years and older

  • Residents in long-term care facilities

  • People ages 50 to 64 with certain medical conditions (a list is available on the CDC website)

  • People ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection due to certain underlying medical conditions

  • People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure because of where they live or their profession

The third dose is meant to generate further protective immunity to the COVID-19 virus, according to a news release from Tri-County Health Care.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being reviewed for third doses.

You can call Tri-County at 218-631-3510 and Lakewood at 218-894-1515 option 2 to schedule an appointment. Lakewood also has an online registration form available. The vaccine is free.

Wadena County Public Health and Tri-County Health Care also offer weekly clinics and appointments for first or second doses of the Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. You can call Public Health at 218-631-7629 for an appointment on Fridays, or for another time during the week at their Wadena clinic. At Tri-County, vaccine clinics are on Wednesdays and Thursdays with appointments and walk-ins offered.

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