You can get tested for free through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This testing is open to all Minnesotans, whether you have symptoms or not, and you don’t need insurance. The testing options are:
Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about getting tested at your health clinic or hospital. Information about test locations can be found here:
No. Appointments are strongly encouraged because they help keep lines and wait times short. But walk-ins are always welcome.
If you plan to walk in for testing, try to avoid the first hour of testing each day, which is usually the busiest time of the day.
Each testing clinic has its own criteria for who it will test. Some only offer testing to people with symptoms, while others reserve testing for essential employees and those who are required to have a test prior to an unrelated surgery.
Nationwide, we have also seen periodic shortages of testing supplies. Because of this, a clinic may have run out of test supplies.
Some testing places may already be full on the day you want to get tested. You may need to wait for a different day or find a different option for testing.
Community testing events and saliva testing sites through the Minnesota Department of Health always accept walk-ins for testing, with no appointment necessary.
With the high demand for testing supplies across the United States, some clinics are unable to do COVID-19 testing every day. If a clinic does not have enough supplies to meet a community’s testing demands, it is removed from the website until more testing supplies are delivered. It is also removed if a clinic does not have enough staff to do the tests.
If you can’t find a clinic near you that is offering testing, look for a Minnesota Department of Health community testing event or saliva testing site near you. Find testing locations
Both of these tests can tell if you have COVID-19 right now.
Antibodies are proteins that your body makes to fight infections. An antibody or “serology” test for COVID-19 looks for proteins that your body makes when fighting COVID-19. This test tells you if you may have had COVID-19 in the past; it does not tell you if you have it now.
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning whether having it once means you cannot get it again.
Minnesota is focused most at the moment on other tests that can tell people if they have the disease right now. When people know they have the disease, they can stay home and away from others to stop more infections.
No. Testing is for anyone who thinks they need a test.
You should for sure get tested:
One of the fastest ways to get a test result is to get tested at a community testing event or saliva testing site sponsored by the State of Minnesota. You will likely receive your results 24-48 hours after taking the test. Getting tested in-person as opposed to using the COVID-19 Test at Home program eliminates some of the time the sample is in transit. Some, but not all, medical clinics, pharmacies, and testing centers also process tests onsite or at nearby labs, which speeds up turnaround time.
COVID-19 testing is no-cost in Minnesota for everyone who lives in the state. The State of Minnesota has made no-cost testing available to everyone through a number of testing options. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires office visits and associated services for receiving COVID-19 tests be no-cost for patients, regardless of insurance status or coverage.
You can get tested for free using any of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) programs, whether or not you have insurance. Tests are offered three different ways:
You can apply to get free COVID-19 testing at a clinic or hospital if you do not have insurance.
If you have health insurance and get charged by your health insurer for a doctor-ordered COVID test, call the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you have health insurance and get charged by your health provider for a doctor-ordered COVID test, call your health insurance company to seek reimbursement.
If you do not have health insurance and you get charged for a COVID test, submit feedback online.
Call the doctor’s office to see if it was a mistake and make sure they have your correct insurance information on file. Call your insurer to seek reimbursement if you paid the bill.
Double check to see if you were charged for a separate, unrelated health care procedure that was performed in addition to your COVID test.
Most individual and small group health insurers are covering telemedicine services. These services include audio or visual communication. Call your health insurer if you have questions about your insurance coverage.
Most Minnesota health insurance companies have waived copays, coinsurance, and deductibles associated with treatment, at least through the end of the year.
If you get your health care coverage through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, you pay no cost-sharing, including co-pays or deductibles, for the diagnosis, testing and treatment of COVID-19.
Yes, the saliva testing sites in Winona, Duluth, and Saint Paul are open to Wisconsin residents.
Yes, the saliva testing site in Moorhead is open to North Dakota residents.
This saliva test is just as accurate as other tests like nasal swabs, according to the test manufacturer. It tests to see whether you currently have the virus that causes COVID-19. It is not an antibody (or serology) test, which can be used to tell if you may have had the virus in the past. The FDA approved this saliva test on April 10, 2020, and the Minnesota Department of Health supports its use.
Vault Medical Services is operating the testing site. They have been operating similar sites all across the country. Vault is hiring local residents to serve as site managers and testing clinicians. Visit Vault Health: Current Job Openings.
These saliva testing locations will not replace the COVID-19 testing options already offered across the state. This is another option to make COVID-19 testing more available for all Minnesotans.
We need both kinds of tests. When we have both, we can use the best test for each person and situation. We can also make sure we can do enough tests in Minnesota, even if a lot more people need tests or some testing supplies are in short supply. Having more testing options means we can test more people.
Benefits of the saliva test are that it is more comfortable and less stressful for many people than a nasal or throat swab. It does not need as much equipment and can be done at home. When done at home, it does not require the use of masks, gloves, or other personal protective equipment, which saves it for health care staff and those who need it. However, producing the amount of saliva needed for the test might be hard for some people, like younger children or people recovering from a stroke.
Vault, the company that runs our saliva testing locations, has a lot of supplies and can quickly and continuously make more. They have not had any shortages. The mail-order test also helps save personal protective equipment like masks and gowns, which has been in short supply, for health care workers since people do the test at home.
The number of tests we do in Minnesota changes each day. Some days we are doing all the tests our labs can handle, and some days we are not. We need to be able to do all the needed tests every day, even if there are spikes of cases or big outbreaks that suddenly require more testing.
Testing is an important way to keep schools open for in-person learning. We know there are cases of COVID-19 in our communities. If we are able to find those cases through testing, we can give people instructions to help prevent spreading the virus to others. If people are not tested, they could have the virus and not know it and spread it to others, leading to more cases.
Our goal is to keep schools open while keeping Minnesotans safe. Once a school chooses a learning model (in-person, hybrid, distance learning) and school has started, the number of cases in the community does not decide whether the learning model has to change. A decision to change learning models depends on cases within the school community and what is happening in the schools themselves.