COVID-19 testing remains inaccessible for many Twin Cities residents, with demand surging after the year-end holiday period.
Appointments at many Twin Cities community testing sites were booked not just Tuesday, but through to the end of this week and beyond. That included at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Bloomington DMV and Roy Wilkins in St. Paul.
One-off appointments may appear occasionally (there was a Wednesday afternoon option briefly available in Brooklyn Park) but generally these sites are full until Saturday, Jan. 10, at the earliest.
The community sites nearest the Twin Cities with short-term testing appointments available (meaning Wednesday or Thursday) appear to be Mankato, Winona and St. Cloud.
The state's testing capacity has been pushed in recent days, as people come out of a year-end holiday period and prepare to go back to work and/or school. Vault, which provides free at-home saliva tests for Minnesotans, had to cap the number of tests it will send out due to this high demand, and the site at MSP Airport moved to appointment only after crowds descended on the testing center.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), on Twitter, issued a reminder that there are about 500 testing sites throughout the state run by clinics. People hoping for a test can check those as well.
There's a shortage of at-home COVID tests sold at places like Walgreen's and CVS as well, with NPR reporting manufacturers are planning to increase production as much as five-fold in the months ahead.
Tuesday's COVID-19 update from MDH includes 16,204 newly reported cases and 36 newly reported deaths. It also shows an increase in hospitalizations.