MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Health announced it’s opening the state’s first COVID-19 saliva testing site in Duluth this Wednesday.

Free saliva tests will be offered at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested – including those not showing symptoms.

“Our battle against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “The high number of new cases we’ve seen in recent days shows the outbreak could quickly spread out of control, so it’s important to stay a step or two ahead.

Minnesota plans to open up to nine more sites across the state. The pilot opening will give state and local health officials a better understanding of the demand for additional saliva test sites in the coming weeks.

The Duluth site will be open five days a week, Wednesday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

People are encouraged to make an appointment through the registration website, but walk-ins are welcome.

Health officials recommend those who are being tested to avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking for at least 30 minutes prior to providing a sample.

Once at the site, they will self-administer the test by spitting into a funnel attached to a small tube. Clinic staff will be available on-site to monitor the collection process and ensure there is enough saliva to be tested.

Results are typically provided by email within 24 to 48 hours of arriving at the lab for processing.

“Our saliva test is one of the most reliable COVID tests available with a 99% effective rate,” said Jason Feldman, co-Founder and CEO of Vault Health. “It’s comfortable to take and can be done without in-person interactions, meaning no risk of virus transmission and no need for PPE to conduct the test.”

For more information about the saliva testing site in Duluth, visit the MDH website.