UPDATE (June 2): More than 10,000 people arrived to be tested during the weekend. Because of the influx, they started asking people in line to fill out their own forms instead of doing it for them, to speed up the process. The MDH says several people never left a phone number on their forms, so they have no way of getting ahold of them to tell them the results. If people wish to know their results, they can email COVIDTesting@state.mn.us — provide your name, testing location and phone number and they will call you with their results.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Any Minnesotan who wants a COVID-19 test can get one this weekend for free. The testing is happening at six different National Guard Armories across the state, including:
• East St Paul: 1530 Maryland Ave E, St Paul, MN 55106
• Minneapolis Armory: 1025 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413.
• Moorhead Armory: 1002 15th Ave N, Moorhead, MN 56560
• Duluth Armory: 4015 Airpark Blvd, Duluth, MN 55811
• Faribault Armory: 3000 W Airport Rd, Faribault, MN 55021
• St. James Armory: 521 Armstrong Blvd N, St James, MN 56081
The National Guard is making this really convenient for people. All you need to do is show up to get tested, no proof of ID or health insurance and no symptoms are needed to get a test.
“[This] testing is really no barrier testing,” said Major Scott Hawks, with the MN National Guard, “We wanted to make it available to as many people in the state as possible.”
Major Hawks says they have about 7,000 COVID tests available and hope to use them all over the Memorial Weekend Holiday.
All six sites will be offering the tests from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday – Monday (Memorial Day).
“We’re hoping to have the results back within 48 hours by a phone call,” said Hawks.
On Saturday morning at 10 a.m. when they first started this process, Hawks said the Minneapolis site had 500 people waiting in line and the St. Paul site had 200 people in line.
“I was here at 9:30 a.m., so about a half hour before they officially opened,” said Bob Dettloff, who secured a spot near the front of the line at the St. Paul site. Dettloff was glad to see the large turnout. “This is what I think a lot of people have been waiting for, so the more people that get tested, at least we know where we are today.”
In Major Hawks’ more than 20 years on the Minnesota National Guard, he never thought he’d be service the public during a pandemic.
“We’ve done floods, fire response, snow emergencies, we’ve prepared for pandemic response, that’s part of our training and preparation,” said Hawks, “but I don’t think we ever believed that it would happen, but today we’re here and it’s happening.”
By law, the Minnesota National Guard cannot collect citizen data. All testing results collected over the weekend are sent directly to the Minnesota Department of Health.