MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Health said that it will be closing COVID-19 community testing sites in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington by the end of the week due to declining demand.

The site in St. Paul will close on Thursday, while Bloomington and Minneapolis locations will close on Friday.

MDH says the sites are closing because more and more people are vaccinated and fewer people are seeking COVID-19 tests.

By mid-June, labs across the state were processing roughly 10,000 tests a day, down significantly compared to the height of the fall surge of the pandemic, when 50,000 to 60,000 tests were administered daily.

“We are making great progress toward ending the pandemic and this is another sign of that as we focus on distributing vaccines and making progress getting 70% of the Minnesota population vaccinated,” said Jesse Stock with MDH.

Trickling in every few minutes, people visited the Minneapolis Convention Center to get a COVID-19 test Wednesday, offering their saliva samples with ease.

“Pretty quick and efficient,” Shana Johnson of Minneapolis said.

The simplicity and familiarity of the process helped keep the Minnesota Department of Health’s community testing sites busy from last fall through this spring.

“This is my third or fourth time down here,” Ron Latz of St. Louis Park said. “Early on there were lines to get in. They really encouraged making appointments.”

Recently, the tests were moved to a smaller room at the Convention Center, and it started closing on weekends.

By this Saturday it’ll close for good, along with testing at Creekside Community Center in Bloomington and Roy Wilkins Arena in St. Paul.

MDH says progress with vaccinations, a drop in COVID cases and fewer people needing these facilities led to the decision.

“I’m happy. I’m happy things are getting back to normal,” Johnson said. “Things are opening back up. We can come outside.”

“But I am worried about the Delta variant and whether we need to continue sort of a regular testing regimen to make sure that that is not taking hold of Minnesota,” Latz said.

Minnesotans are still able to walk in and get a free COVID-19 test at Walgreens or CVS locations.

If you still need to access a COVID-19 test, there are available sites across the state. Click here for more information.

Jeff Wagner