MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The State of Minnesota plans to open a new saliva testing site at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The site, which opens on Monday, will be the eighth in the state and free to any Minnesotan who believes they need to be tested for COVID-19.

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“What’s happening in Minnesota right now is alarming,” said Minnesota Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “We are seeing record numbers of new cases every few days. And it’s because we’re falling behind the rapid spread of this virus. Testing is a key part of our strategy, and we’ve made great progress in removing obstacles to testing thanks to strong partnerships across the state.”

Due to expected demand, testing will be available seven days a week, noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends at the Minneapolis Convention Center starting Monday.

The state opened the first saliva testing site in Duluth on Sept. 23. Since then, saliva testing locations have opened in Winona, Moorhead, Brooklyn Park, Mankato, St. Cloud, and Saint Paul.

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Those tested can expect results within 24-48 hours.

“The Minneapolis Convention Center offers access to thousands of people in the heart of the metro,” said Dan Huff, MDH assistant commissioner for health protection. “Our COVID-19 numbers are moving in the wrong direction, but we still have a chance to turn the tide here in Minnesota if everyone does their part; we hope this increased access to testing will help people learn if they are positive for COVID-19 and to isolate when necessary.”

Health officials say those who come for a test should avoid eating, drinking, chewing, or smoking anything for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample.

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