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On this page you will find the latest press releases and statements from the Office of Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan.

Governor Walz Marks Opening of Minnesota’s New COVID-19 Saliva Lab in Oakdale

Governor Walz toured new lab, which is result of partnership to increase access to testing for Minnesotans and is expected to make results available sooner

10/20/2020 11:12:22 AM

Feature image for Governor Walz Marks Opening of Minnesota’s New COVID-19 Saliva Lab in Oakdale

Governor Tim Walz today marked the official opening of the state’s new COVID-19 saliva testing lab in Oakdale, Minnesota. The Governor toured the lab and highlighted the importance of testing to the state’s comprehensive strategy to combat COVID-19. The Infinity BiologiX (IBX) COVID saliva lab will have the capability of processing up to 30,000 samples a day when operating at full capacity, and will employ up to 250 Minnesotans. The lab is part of a collaboration with Vault Health, the developer of the at-home and on-site COVID saliva testing platform, and IBX, the developer of the saliva test.

“Testing is a key component of our strategy to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19,” Governor Walz said. “Our saliva testing partnership has already helped bring testing access to Minnesotans across the state, and this new lab will better prepare us to track, understand, and fight the virus in our communities.”

“While there is still work to do to remove obstacles to testing for all Minnesotans, our robust, collaborative statewide testing program helps us keep all Minnesotans safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. I’m grateful for our strong partnership with community leadership, local public health officials, health care systems, and many others that made this testing laboratory possible in Minnesota.”

The saliva testing program includes the creation of up to 10 semi-permanent testing sites across Minnesota, a mail order program which will launch a pilot later this month, and the creation of the Oakdale lab. Initially, the lab will process tests only from the semi-permanent sites that are up and running, which includes Duluth, Winona, Moorhead, and Brooklyn Park.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with the state of Minnesota in their mission to keep their communities healthy by increasing access to COVID-19 testing," said IBX Chief Executive and Scientific Officer, Dr. Andrew Brooks. "By opening the IBX lab here in Oakdale, Minnesotans will have the optimal testing experience. Not only will they be able to easily obtain a test they can trust, but also receive their results in less time. The Minnesota IBX lab is a powerful example of what other states can also do to ensure the health of their citizens remains a top priority."

"Minnesota is at the forefront of unlocking testing for their residents through our partnership with testing sites, a mail order test program, and a new testing lab in Oakdale,” said Vault Health Co-Founder and CEO, Jason Feldman. “Minnesota is an outstanding case study for other states to see how a multi-dimensional testing program can be implemented at speed to help prevent the spread of COVID and protect the population."

Testing will increase as more semi-permanent sites open, the mail order program expands, and other organizations decide to contract with the State to utilize the testing capacity. The lab will reduce shipping time by allowing samples to be couriered from collection sites in the state instead of being shipped to the IBX lab in New Jersey. People taking the saliva test in Minnesota can expect results within 24-48 hours.

The lab is in the former Imation headquarters, renamed 4Front and owned by Minnesota’s family-owned Slumberland Furniture, at 3510 Hopkins Place North in Oakdale. Funding for it was reviewed by the Legislative Advisory Commission and comes from the federal CARES Act.

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