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ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — Starting Thursday, people with COVID-19 symptoms will have a new drive-through testing option as North Memorial’s Health Specialty Center has expanded its testing capabilities.

The site, located at 3435 West Broadway Avenue in Robbinsdale, will be open to anyone who is showing at least one symptom of the novel coronavirus, whether it be fever, a cough or trouble breathing. The test is free for the patient, all one needs is an insurance card, a valid ID and accurate contact information. No doctor referral is needed.

While the site will be designed as a drive-through operation, walk-up patients will also be accepted. The site will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the test, a worker will swab the patient’s nose and then put that sample in a sterile container for testing. After the patient receives follow-up information, they are free to drive off. Results are expected to be available within five to seven days.

This drive-through site will be one of the factors that allows Minnesota to reach or perhaps surpass the 5,000 tests a day benchmark, which Gov. Tim Walz’s says is one of the requirements to reopen more sectors of the state economy. The eventual goal is to have state capacity reach 20,000 tests a day.

Since the outbreak began in Minnesota in March, more than 8,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19. While roughly 5,000 people have recovered from the disease, 485 people have died. Many of the victims were residents in nursing homes, which have been hit hard by the pathogen.

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Christiane Cordero

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