Virus Outbreak Slaughterhouse Cities

In this Friday, May 1 photo, medical workers test a local resident at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Waterloo, Iowa. As testing has increased, Public Health directors in Rice and Steele counties say so have the number of confirmed cases. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Minnesotans who need or want to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to access free testing at six National Guard Armory locations across Minnesota, including Faribault, throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Minnesota National Guard members will have the capacity to collect roughly 2,000 samples per day across six sites, for a total capacity of roughly 6,000 tests over the three-day weekend. The sites are hosted by the Minnesota National Guard, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the State Emergency Operations Center, which is the central coordinating cell for the majority of COVID-19 operations.

“Testing, tracing, and isolating are the best tools we have to understand the impact of the pandemic on our communities and to contain it, so we can continue safely navigating this pandemic,” said Governor Tim Walz. “I am grateful the Minnesota National Guard is helping with this important effort.”

“These six testing sites across the state eliminate some of the barriers to testing so that we can focus on what matters most – the health of all Minnesotans,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Just as this virus disproportionately impacts Indigenous communities, people of color, immigrants and refugees, people experiencing homelessness, low-income Minnesotans, older adults, and individuals with pre-existing conditions and disabilities, these same communities often face the most barriers to access testing.”

The testing teams at each site are comprised of a coalition of National Guard members and state or local public health employees. Social distancing and the practice of wearing a mask will be enforced at the testing locations. Anyone experiencing symptoms should self-quarantine before and after their test until they receive their results.

“The Minnesota National Guard is proud to do our part for the state testing process,” said Major General Jon Jensen, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. “Whether during floods or snowstorms, wild-fires or pandemics, we stand ready to serve the people of Minnesota wherever and whenever we are needed.”

Starting Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25, the following National Guard facilities will be open to conduct testing through the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (or until supplies are exhausted):

Faribault Armory

3000 W. Airport Road, Faribault

Who can be tested?

Any Minnesotan. We especially encourage those who are ill, and those who have been directly exposed to a known COVID-19 positive contact.

How will the testing take place?

No appointment is necessary. National Guard members will swab the inside of your nose and ask you to complete paperwork with your name and contact information so you can be contacted with results. Results will be provided by phone and expected with an average of 48 hours.

Is there a charge for the test?

There is no charge for the testing and Minnesotans will not be asked for insurance cards or ID.

When can I be tested?

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Memorial Day)

Will there be future opportunities like this?

Future testing events depend on several factors, including demand demonstrated this weekend. Minnesotans can find other testing facilities as well as a symptom screening tool at mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/if-sick.

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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