MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At the HealthPartners clinic along Highway 96, yellow tape and white tents stretch over the parking lot.
The elaborate arrangement is designed for efficiency – a way to stage and process a possible crush of COVID-19 patient testing.READ MORE: Robert Kinney Gets 1 Year Behind Bars, 15 Years Probation In St. Paul Fatal Hit-And-Run
“Everybody needs to have a scheduled appointment time so we can prepare for their arrival,” explains Dr. Susan Scanlon, HealthPartners regional medical director.
Less than two weeks ago, Gov. Tim Walz announced the “Minnesota Moonshot.” It is the state’s way of seizing upon Minnesota’s medical might to work in concert for broader diagnostic testing.
On Monday, the Commissioner of Health, Jan Malcolm indicated the latest numbers are bearing proof to stepped up testing.
“As we test more we’ll find more as the governor said. So we’re seeing the numbers continue to rise and the test numbers and cases discovered as a result,” explained Malcolm.READ MORE: Kim Potter Trial, Nov. 30 Live Updates: Defense Says Potter Will Testify, 3 Jurors Seated
In the initial early stages of the COVID-19 battle, critical shortages of testing materials and labs limited surveillance to priority individuals. Medical, EMS and conjugate care personnel were the only people who could receive testing. Since then, $36 million of state funding is providing clinics and hospitals the means to test every symptomatic patient.
“At this point, we are testing any patient who has symptoms concerning COVID-19. So we’ve certainly opened up testing for a wider population,” adds Dr. Scanlon.
HealthPartners alone can process two-thousand tests each day, across its eight clinics. Allina Health says it is also getting close to performing that same number of tests.
Health experts agree, only greater testing will slow the spread and rebuild our shaken confidence.MORE NEWS: Fourth Stimulus Check: Should You Expect Another Relief Payment?
As of Monday, nearly 86,000 Minnesotans have been tested. That is less than 1.5% of the state’s population.