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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota health officials today announced a four-week long push to offer COVID-19 testing to anyone wishing to be tested throughout the state.

A news release from the Minnesota Department of Health says the "no barrier" COVID-19 testing will begin the week of September 21st. The plan calls for the testing to take place in multiple communities each week, with 4 to 6 separate community testing events spread around the state each week. The testing will be free and available to anyone even if they do not have symptoms or insurance.

“The troublesome trends in our neighboring states are a reminder of how quickly we could go from walking the cliff’s edge to tumbling over it,” said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “We are deeply concerned about the spike of cases in communities all over the state where people don’t know how they contracted the virus. Community spread driven by people who don’t know they have it puts those most vulnerable to the worst complications at grave risk. It’s more critical than ever to test a lot of people and identify positive cases early to slow that spread. Testing lets us know who needs to isolate and who else may be at risk.”

The first testing events will occur in Waseca, Grand Rapids, and Pine City. The Waseca event will be held on September 23rd and 24th at the Waseca High School Gym from 12 until 6 PM both days.  Registration for the Waseca testing is available through the website Waseca Community Testing: Schedule Appointment

The state health department will be announcing additional events and locations in coming days. The nasal swab test samples will be processed by Mayo Clinic Laboratories or the University of Minnesota. The National Guard will be activated to provide some staffing and logistical support for the testing program.

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